Police statistics on domestic violence orders breached in Qld


Advocates are again calling for greater action to address domestic violence after the horrific murder of Brisbane mother Hannah Clarke and her three young children.

Ms Clarke had separated from her husband Rowan Baxter before Christmas last year, and she was killed on Wednesday along with her children after their car was set on fire.

Her estranged husband approached their SUV during the school run and witnesses reported seeing Ms Clarke jump out of the car, shouting, “He’s poured petrol on me.”

Baxter later died from injuries from the fire and self-inflicted injuries.

“It is apparent the tragedy that has occurred in Brisbane was the final act of power, control and ultimate revenge, committed by a family violence perpetrator against his former partner,” Ms Batty said in a statement today.

“This horrific violence is beyond our imagination, comprehension and understanding. How could this happen? And yet it does. And it keeps on happening.

“We are all devastated and deeply affected by these calculated and senseless murders and stunned by their hideous cruelty.

“I am overwhelmed and, like so many, full of despair. This unspeakable act of violence should give pause for all our elected leaders to think deeply about their leadership on this epidemic.

“This is the most pressing issue of terrorism our society faces – where at least one woman each week is murdered.”

Hannah Clarke with her three children Trey, Laianah and Aaliyah, who were all killed.Source:Supplied

She said at least one in four children is affected by violence in their home and the trauma they experience will impact their lives forever.

“A critical challenge we must now address, as a nation, is the family law court system and the significant part that it plays in keeping children safe,” Ms Batty said.

Ms Batty said a loving parent never considered murder as being an option or a solution.

“No one is “driven” to murder no matter the circumstances or situation that they find themselves in.

“Murder is a decision that is deliberate and driven by the need to exact revenge and achieve the ultimate act of power and control. Although mental health, drugs and alcohol can be contributing factors, violence is always a choice and one that we should not continue to make excuses for.”

She ended her statement saying: “I am deeply affected by this event and I will not be commenting further at this time”.

Rosie Batty has campaigned for family law reform. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian

Rosie Batty has campaigned for family law reform. Picture: Aaron Francis/The AustralianSource:News Corp Australia

Queensland Police statistics show domestic violence orders were breached more than 30,000 times last year.

The figures show a huge increase from 2001, when there were 6499 breaches, and mean that orders were broken on average, 84 times a day.

Detective Inspector Mark Thompson confirmed to reporters on Thursday that domestic and family violence applications had been granted and there had been a “number of interactions” between police and the family.

A Brisbane court granted at least one domestic violence order against Baxter.

The shocking case has led to calls for more to be done to stop domestic violence.

The period after a woman leaves a relationship is often the most dangerous time for them and friend of Ms Clarke, Manja Whaley, of Mt Cotton, told Today this morning that her friend had left Baxter on December 5.

“I work in domestic violence,” Ms Whaley said, “so when she first confided in me we spoke about the violence and for such a long time she didn’t believe she was in a domestic violence relationship.

“I then started unpacking with her the emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and she had experienced all of those.”

Ms Whaley said she had worked in the domestic violence sector for 10 years and hoped there would be more awareness about the issue.

“There was the checking of her accounts on Facebook, the accusations of her cheating … she would get dressed and she would be picking up her clothes and he would say things to her like, ‘Look at your stomach, that’s just disgusting,’” Ms Whaley said.

“My hope is that people are more aware of domestic violence … just because you haven’t been beaten doesn’t mean that there is no domestic violence,” she said.

Women’s Legal Service Queensland chief executive Angela Lynch told the Brisbane Times that the 374 per cent increase to the number of breaches to domestic violence orders since 2001 may be a sign that women were seeking help, police were prioritising the issue and courts were issuing more orders.

Childhood Domestic Violence Australia CEO Tracy McLeod Howe said law enforcement, and society in general, needed to take “red flags” from potentially violent men more seriously.

RELATED: Rowan Baxter ‘threatened to kill child from previous relationship’

RELATED: Killer dad was a ‘master manipulator’, victim’s parents say

RELATED: Hannah Clarke told relatives she was ‘so glad she got out’

Hannah Clarke with her son Trey. They were both killed on Wednesday.

Hannah Clarke with her son Trey. They were both killed on Wednesday.Source:News Corp Australia

“I’m not alarmist and I don’t hate men or any of that but when I hear this happens I go, ‘Not again,’ because I think this will happen again and again and again unless we have systems in place; when we have those red flags, we take it seriously,” Ms McLeod Howe told Today earlier this week.

“If someone shows you who they are, or even says these things as a threat, you should take it seriously. I think often we don’t. I think the community finds it really hard to understand that maybe a good bloke could do this, and I’m not just saying blokes, but in this case it was a bloke. It does happen.

“If they show you who they are, believe them. If they say these things as a threat, believe them, and we have to take action.”

– with AAP



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