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This is what domestic violence looks like in Australia

Published: November 25, 2014 - 2:06PM

In her submission to the Senate Inquiry into domestic violence, Rosie Batty, whose son Luke was murdered by her former husband earlier this year, asked:

"Why is it that family violence is still so expected within our culture, and that we still maintain deep ambivalence to responding to violence in the home, violence predominantly targeting women and children?'

Every year, the death toll from intimate partner violence in Australia continues to climb. 

In 2014 alone, Destroy the Joint reported 68 women have been killed in violent circumstances, 52 of them by partners or former partners. Last week, NSW Police homicide commander Superintendent Mick Willing said around 36 per cent of all homcides are domestic related -- mostly committed in the victims' own homes.  

"Shining a light on domestic violence is important, obviously violence is a crime that occurs behind closed doors and the extreme of domestic violence is that it kills," Superintendent Willing said. 

While statistics reflect an alarming reality, much work still needs to be done to shift attitudes around family violence. 

One woman is killed almost every week by her current or former partner in Australia. And yet results of a national survey conducted by VicHealth revealed that one in five surveyed believe "domestic violence could be excused if people get so angry they lose control".

Almost one in 10 think "it's a woman's duty to stay in a violent relationship to keep the family together".

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. As Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said in his police commissioners address on Monday, "We can never be ambivalent about this - we can never accept or expect family violence. We can never view family violence as an unfortunate inevitability, a fact of life outside of our control. We can do better, we have to."

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT

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