February 20, 2020 / Patty Kinnersly, Our Watch CEO
The violent killing of Hannah Clarke and her three children - Lainah, Aaliyah and Trey, is a terrible reminder that family violence and violence against women is the national emergency that this country continues to face.
Our deepest condolences go out to their family and friends at this very sad time.
No one individual, community, organisation or government can prevent violence against women alone.
In order to prevent violence against women, we need a shared, consistent and mutually reinforcing approach, where all levels of government, business and the community contribute to creating a safer Australia built upon respect and equality.
Unfortunately, violence against women in this country is far too common.
61 women died violently last year, and the figure has now reached eight this year.
On average, a woman dies violently every week in Australia, usually at the hands of someone she knows.
Most of these murders take place in the home and are often the final brutal act after a long history of violence.
Yet the murders are just the tip of the iceberg. For every woman murdered, many thousands are living with violence and abuse.
One in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 1 in 5 Australian women has experienced sexual violence.
Violence against women is a national emergency and it needs our urgent attention.
There is a compelling need for long-term, secure and ongoing funding across the entire violence against women sector, including response and early intervention work, and preventing it from happening in the first place.
For prevention of violence against women to be effective, there needs to be a well-functioning and effectively resourced response and early intervention system. Funds for primary prevention must be in addition to funds for intervening in and responding to violence against women.
We also need to address what the research says is driving it – which is pervasive gender inequality.
We all have a part to play in creating an Australia where women are not only safe, but respected and treated as equals in private and public life.
As individuals, it starts with calling out sexist or derogatory comments at work, at home or in social situations.
As parents, it is as simple as modelling behaviours that promote gender equality and by expanding their options beyond the confines of blue or pink.
Through the leadership of all levels of government, workplaces, schools and sporting clubs we can build the momentum needed to tackle gender inequality.
We all must be bold in speaking out against sexism, gender inequality and violence.
Only then will we create the cultural change needed to prevent violence against women and their children.
As more people stand up against violence and the behaviours and attitudes that support it, as women have greater independence and decision-making power, as gender roles are less rigidly enforced, and as more people have the skills and desire to create positive, equal and respectful relationships, then – and only then – will we start to see a decrease in rates of violence against women.
Pictured: A makeshift memorial for Hannah Clarke and her three children – Lainah, Aaliyah and Trey – at Camp Hill. Image: Kate McKenna, ABC News
Saraya Musovic, Senior Media and Communications Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0448 844 930) or Laurelle Keough, Media and Communications Manager (email@example.com or 0448 844 930) or firstname.lastname@example.org
*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:
“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”
To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.
Our Watch leads Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the structures, norms and practices that lead to violence against women and children.