Anti-violence protesters
Rallies protesting violence against women will be held in nine cities over the weekend. Image by Darren Pateman/AAP PHOTOS
  • crime, law and justice

Family violence register on cards as rallies begin

April 26, 2024

Hundreds of marchers have taken to the streets in Ballarat and Newcastle, kicking off more than a dozen national rallies against gendered violence, as politicians ponder a register of convicted family violence offenders in Victoria.

Twenty-six women have allegedly died by male violence in Australia this year, according to Destroy the Joint figures, which equates to a woman killed every four days in 2024.

Earlier this week Molly Ticehurst, 28, was found dead at her home in Forbes in NSW while Emma Bates, 49, was discovered dead at a property in Cobram in Victoria.

Ms Ticehurst’s former partner has been charged with her murder, while John Torney, 39, faced court in Melbourne on Friday on assault charges after Ms Bates’ death.

Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway
 Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway says some offenders go from relationship to relationship. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

The rise in deaths has led Victoria Police to renew its calls for a register of convicted family violence offenders.

Victoria Police submitted the idea of a register to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, but it was not among 227 recommendations.

Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway, who leads the family violence unit, said some high-risk offenders had a pattern of going from relationship to relationship.

“The principle of a right to know someone’s violent priors, if it is certainly going to provide you with a more informed choice around how to manage your safety, is certainly something that police have previously put forward,” she told reporters on Friday.

She said greater focus should be put on rehabilitating perpetrators as “it’s not an option to lock everyone up forever”.

“Some solutions place too much emphasis on women to do the changing and we know that’s not the long-term solution,” she said.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said governments had a responsibility to lead and the state’s ministers were seeking advice on strengthening protections.

“It’s clear we need to do more, it’s clear we need to examine what else we can do and that does include what changes we may need to make to our legal systems, our justice systems, how we respond in those areas,” she told reporters in Bendigo.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan
 Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan says more needs to be done to stop violence against women. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS 

NSW Police said it would back a proposal to stop court registrars from making bail decisions in domestic violence cases, after the death of Ms Ticehurst.

Rallies calling for an end to violence against women will be held across 17 cities from Friday to Sunday, with thousands expected to attend for marches, speeches and performances.

Demonstrators in Newcastle on Friday evening chanted “speak up, stand proud” and held signs reading “stop killing us” and “enough is enough” as they called for more action from politicians.

“Enough is enough sounds a lot like too little too late which is exactly what kind of support we’ve gotten from our government when it comes to gendered violence,” rally organiser and What Were You Wearing Australia founder Sarah Williams said.

The first event was held in Ballarat on Friday night, a regional Victorian city rocked by the deaths of three local women this year.

Police allege Samantha Murphy, Rebecca Young and Hannah McGuire all died at the hands of men.

“We want to speak up while we have a bigger platform – it is the perfect opportunity to get this national movement started and come together to share anger and disappointment and sadness,” Melbourne rally organiser Martina Ferrara told AAP.

“The issue is that there is a lack of accountability and a lack of action.”

A file photo of Patty Kinnersly
 Our Watch chief Patty Kinnersly says the community is demanding an end to the violent deaths. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

Further demonstrations will be held in Adelaide, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Bendigo, Geelong, Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wagga Wagga, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Orange and Cobram.

Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly said there had been a high number of deaths of Australian women over the past two months.

“The shocking rate of violent deaths of women this year exceeds anything Australia has experienced in recent years,” Ms Kinnersly said.

No community is safe and the number of deaths only reveal the “tips of the iceberg” of violence against women, she said.

Lifeline 13 11 14

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028