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A woman is being violently killed in Australia every four days this year

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It used to be one woman a week. But this year, an Australian woman is being violently killed every four days.

The rate at which men are allegedly killing Australian women is significantly higher in 2024 than in recent years, prompting women’s safety leaders to call on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to act.

Molly Ticehurst’s alleged murderer, Daniel Billings, was released on bail just weeks ago, after being accused of sexually assaulting her.

Twenty-five women had lost their lives to gendered violence by April 23, after Forbes woman Molly Ticehurst, 28, was found dead at her home on Monday.

Number 26 was confirmed on Wednesday, when 49-year-old Emma Bates, from Cobram in Victoria’s north, was found dead in her home on Tuesday about 2.15pm. Police believe she was the victim of a violent assault.

John Torney, a 39-year-old whom police say was known to Bates, was charged on Wednesday night with intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury, common law assault, aggravated assault of a female and unlawful assault.

Bates died 12 days after an estimated 1000 people rallied in the Victorian regional town of Ballarat to protest the fact that three women in the region died violently allegedly at the hands of men in the past two months.

Those women were Rebecca Young, 42, Samantha Murphy, 51 and Hannah McGuire, 23.

On March 9, police found the body of Point Cook mother Chaithanya Madhagani, known as “Swetha”, in a wheelie bin left in scrub west of Geelong.

Her husband is believed to have travelled to India with the couple’s three-year-old son before Victorian police could question him or notify federal authorities to put a stop on his travel.

At the same time in April last year there had been 14 violent deaths of women in Australia – 11 fewer than April this year. Over the past few years, a woman has been violently killed in Australia about once a week on average.

The deaths of 26 women in the first 114 days of 2024 is equivalent to one every 4.38 days, which the prime minister has described as a crisis.

Patty Kinnersly, chief executive of the national violence prevention organisation Our Watch, said the community was demanding an end to the killing.

“It is beyond devastating that another woman has been killed allegedly by men’s violence here in Victoria,” she said.

“We are looking at a shocking rate of violent deaths of women this year that exceeds anything Australia has experienced in recent years. The community, men and women, are demanding that this ends, and ends now.”

Ash Good was one of five women killed by Joel Cauchi at Bondi Junction Westfield shopping centre on April 13.

The 2024 figures include five women stabbed to death by Joel Cauchi at a Bondi shopping centre on April 13. New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb said it was “obvious” to her and to detectives investigating the killing spree that Cauchi targeted women.

Tania Farha, chief executive of Victoria’s peak body for specialist family violence services, Safe and Equal, said the accelerated rate at which women were being killed by men was “a national crisis”.

Her group was among the women’s safety organisations that wrote to the Albanese government at the end of 2023 after 64 women were violently killed that year, to elevate the issue to national cabinet status. Farha said she had not heard whether this occurred.

“I’m reading message after message about outrage and horror, and about sadness, but I feel the time for messages has passed, and we need action at every level of government now,” said Farha.

“Remember these are just the women that we’re hearing about, how many women are murdered or missing that we do not hear about; we don’t even have a proper, funded counting mechanism [to tally and record details of women lost to violence]. We don’t know the true numbers.”

The Facebook page Counting Dead Women Australia, which is maintained by volunteers using verified police reports of women’s homicides, is recognised as the most accurate tally of women killed by violence.

Respect Victoria acting chief executive Serina McDuff said more men than ever had begun recognising that violence against women “is a men’s issue”.

are our neighbours, our family members, our partners – and we must start treating this as a systemic problem, instead of seeing this as an issue caused by a few bad eggs,” she said.

“Violence against women is a men’s issue, and we’re seeing more men than ever before talk about it publicly.”


(c) 2024, The Sydney Morning Herald



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