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Murderous intent … another domestic violence victim dead

If men were being murdered by their partners or family at a rate of one a week, I expect that we would see radical political and police action.

There would be a large influx of funding so that every domestic violence victim had access to emergency housing, threats to men by their partners or children would be taken very seriously by authorities and Apprehended Violence Orders would be rigorously enforced.

So why do we have to see another woman’s life, this week, cut short? Are women worth less than men? Does society believe that women “ask” for domestic violence, or that it is their place to accept it?

This week police found the body of Gold Coast woman Wendy Sleeman, 61, in the back of a car in a Brisbane garage.

Her 30-year-old son, Slade Murdok, has been charged with multiple domestic violence related offences including kidnapping after Wendy went missing on Tuesday following a call to police to report a break-in at her home.

Even worse news, new police data shows sexual assaults in NSW are surging. According to an article published by The Sydney Morning Herald, more than 300 reports have been lodged on an online portal in two weeks.

Some good news is that the Federal government is moving on this issue, this week giving workers access to  10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) Leave, regardless of whether they work full-time, part-time or casually.

On average, it costs $18,000 to escape a violent relationship in Australia.

We can also expect to see more proposals by major political parties in the lead-up to the NSW election, among them:

* The promise of more electronic ankle bracelets to better track domestic violence offenders, as well as a new trial that will allow people to check if their partner has a history of domestic violence. 

* The removal of eligibility criteria for victim-survivors applying for a  Rentstart Bond Loan and providing improved access to both the First Home Buyer Choice and First Home Buyer Assistance schemes, which is being actioned by the Coalition.

* The establishment of a specialist multicultural domestic and family violence centre in south-west Sydney if Labor is elected. Through a partnership with Settlement Services International (SSI), the centre would increase accessibility to services and safety for migrant and refugee women.

While it’s encouraging to see that this issue is getting more face time and more funding, the death toll tells us it’s not nearly enough yet. Don’t be silent on domestic abuse. If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.


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