It has been described by an attending homicide detective as ‘potentially the most horrific crime scene’ he has ever attended.
A 48-year old mother and her two children, an 8 year old son and 15-year old daughter, were killed at their home in Perth early on Sunday morning. A 19 year old man has been arrested but his relationship to the family is unknown. He reportedly lived at the same residence.
What we do know is that it brings the number of Australians killed in their homes to eight in eleven days. Eight people have been killed in their homes in Australia in the past eleven days. Four of those individuals were children.
It makes the shocking “average” statistic of one woman being killed a week by her current or former partner pale. This is getting perilously close to one a day.
Because of the Counting Dead Women Australia researchers of Destroy The Joint we know that thirty six women have been killed violently in Australia this year.
The most recent victim was a 27 year old woman who was found dead in a shed at the rear of a Griffith property on Sunday morning. The man arrested has been charged with breaches of a domestic apprehended violence order and was refused bail.
But this figure doesn’t include the children killed violently this year.
It doesn’t count the four children aged between 8 and 13 – who were killed in their home by their grandfather in Margaret River.
It doesn’t include the 5 year old boy who was stabbed by his father in Carlingford in June.
It doesn’t include Jack, 15, and his 13-year-old sister Jennifer who were shot dead by their father John Edwards in Sydney two weeks ago.
It doesn’t include the two children killed in Perth on Sunday.
That is nine children who have been murdered in their homes this year. In addition to 36 women who have been violently killed this year.
This time last week – almost to the minute – I wrote that the silence around this deadly scourge was conspicuous. Three women had been killed in their homes in a single day and there was virtually no public response. There was certainly no taskforce or urgency lent to the issue.
It is a week later and four more innocent lives have been taken brutally. Two of them children.
It is no exaggeration to say that the remarkable rescue of the 12-year old soccer players and their coach in Thailand last week captured the world’s heart and attention. We were all barracking for their safe passage out of that cave and there was nothing the world wouldn’t have done to save them. It was a thoroughly heart warming display of humanity. Of the lengths we could and would travel to save the lives of children. It was nothing less than those boys – and their families – deserved.
And yet it raises an uncomfortable question: why aren’t we willing to travel those same lengths to keep children here in Australia safe? Why aren’t we willing to devote resources and time and support and the sum of our capacity as human beings to protecting women and children from the danger lurking in their own homes?
It’s isn’t a discrete task like the Thailand rescue mission but the reality is we have the blue print for saving women and children. We have the know-how and the skilled individuals who know what is needed to help ensure women and children are protected. To minimise the harm that domestic violence wreaks.
What we apparently don’t have however is the motivation. And that is chilling because four children and four women have been killed in the past 11 days. Eight people who deserved, at the very least, some effort to have rescued them. How many more children and women have to die before the rescue mission starts in earnest?