Sabah Hafiz's death is a tragic reminder of inaction on domestic violence

Sabah Hafiz’s death is a tragic reminder of Australia’s escalating domestic violence crisis & government inaction

Sabah Hafiz

Sabah Hafiz was a 23-year-old aspiring model who enjoyed new experiences and being ‘spontaneous’. She had her whole life before her…until she didn’t.

Her reported death yesterday in Sydney’s Wentworthville is a devastating reminder that this pandemic has far reaching consequences outside of the risk of the virus itself.

One of those consequences is the escalation in domestic and family violence cases; a crisis of epic proportions in Australia before 2020, and an utterly indescribable one now.

Police and paramedics responded to the Lane St unit following reports that a woman had been injured. According to police, there was clear evidence of assault “however a post mortem would still need to determine the manner of death”, Detective Acting Superintendent Simon Glasser told reporters.

“We’re unsure of any weapon being used.”

Police are now searching for Hafiz’s husband, 24-year-old Adam Cureton.

“We’re taking it extremely seriously and we’ve established a strike force to investigate the circumstances,” Glasser added, in what he described as a “tragic outcome”.

According to Impact, Hafiz is the 45th woman in Australia this year to be murdered with several hundred more women considered vulnerable and at risk of violence. An exacerbating crisis with the pandemic causing mass job insecurity and volatile living arrangements during isolation.

The Australian Institute of Criminology surveyed 15,000 women in May, and found that 8.2 per cent of women who lived with a partner had experienced physical violence in the preceding three months.

Yet, in the trillion dollar budget delivered by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier this month, violence against women was left by the wayside.

In fact, the government was seen to strip funds from key anti domestic violence programs, as reported by Women’s Agenda yesterday.

And in July, the government’s women’s safety ministers including Marise Payne and Anne Rushton concluded that no new measures needed to be taken to address the worsening crisis.

“We have thousands of women and children at threat needing critical supports and have been quite explicit about the gaps that need to be filled so they can be safe,” Hayley Foster Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Safety NSW said at the time.

“What we’ve been clear on is that we’re not investing nearly enough in addressing this problem,” she added.

“In fact, we’re coming off such a low base level of funding, we actually need to be spending four times as much if we want to ensure victims and abusers across the country have access to services they need whilst also tackling the root causes of the problem.”

It begs the question: If Sabah Hafiz had access to such services, would her life have been so senselessly taken?

If you or someone you know if in immediate danger, call 000. If you need help and advice call 1800Respect on 1800 737 732, Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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