OPINION: Family violence everyone's problem

People react following a shooting at a McDonalds restaurant in Helensvale on the Gold Coast.
People react following a shooting at a McDonalds restaurant in Helensvale on the Gold Coast. DAVE HUNT

WHENEVER a woman is murdered as a result of family violence, I often think the same thing as when there's a mass shooting in the United States: how bad does it have to get before we are truly galvanised into action?

I can't help feeling the reasons people have been so shocked about the most recent deaths are partly because one of them was so public and partly because three women were killed in the space of two days.

It's not that it's wrong to be shocked - I just wish we were equally shocked with every murder, and with every incident of violence and control that eventually leads to this place.

There is a lot of talk right now about government policy action and more funding for family and domestic violence support services, and all of that is right too.

This media organisation campaigned strongly this year on bringing about genuine policy changes that would make a difference to families living in fear, and I'm pleased to say the Queensland Government is addressing those things in response to the recent comprehensive report by the Special Task Force on Domestic and Family Violence.

But it's not right to just say this is a government problem, and that spending money on policy changes and education will solve it in its entirety.

At its heart, this is a community problem.

It stems from the need to feel control over a person and continues to be fed when no one steps in to stop it.

It's a complex problem, but it's not just somebody else's problem.

It's not just the problem of the victims, who are so bound up by fear they often don't know what to do next, nor what will cause the next episode of threats and violence.

And it's not just the problem of the police and support workers, who can only try to help the people who actually come to their attention.

It is everyone's problem. That means you and I speaking out if we think someone is in trouble, or calling someone out on the kind of gender stereotypes and attitudes that reinforce the inequalities at the root of family violence.

Because when Karina Lock was killed at McDonald's on the Gold coast yesterday, she became the 62nd woman in Australia to be killed this year, allegedly at the hands of a man known to her. And that can't keep happening. 

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes one to stop a man from hurting his family.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.

Topics:  domestic violence editors picks family violence terrorathome

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