Domestic Violence…Our System is Broken.

March 2020.

To begin, and to ensure that there is no confusion; if you set your children and your partner on fire because you cannot get what you want you are an evil coward.

No circumstances, I repeat no circumstances, justify burning your children and your partner alive. None!

To frame this murdering coward as a victim of a cruel and biased system is an insult to lives of the woman and the children he burnt to death and a further insult to the thousands of good men and women who struggle with relationship collapse and who, somehow, resolve their problems without burning their children alive.

The Law, in Queensland, around domestic violence is not complicated; although its application often is.

One example of the complications is that, as far as I can understand, the Family Law Court of Australia has 20,000 cases waiting to be heard – meaning couples can wait up to five years to have custody matters and property settlement resolved.

Quite frankly this is intolerable.

This the stuff of third world countries and I ask myself, “ Where is the noise about this? Where is the outrage? We rush about with our hair on fire because someone said something on nonsense television, but here we have an issue that really is worth getting agitated about and I hear nothing. “

Why?

I am aware, as many of you reading this will be, that a fair percentage of the male instigated violence against their former partners is carried out by men who are on bail from the Courts.

It is not hard to research some of these matters and it is often the case that the Police have opposed bail, but the Court overrules the Police and the male goes free.

Why?

It seems to me that if Police oppose bail of a person charged on the grounds of danger to the community then the Court’s only option is to accept the Police advice.

Further to this, I wonder if, a Magistrate who rejects Police recommendations regarding bail should be held responsible for the actions of the person he/she bailed?

It seems to be a very simple situation. What is the point of having Police if the Courts do not act in concert with the Police?

I mean, what is the point of having Police if they spend hours of their time cleaning up situations created by people who should not be on the streets?

All of us know of examples of murders and rape, carried out by men who are on bail from the Courts.

These are not easy questions to ask, but, if there is evidence of ongoing physical and psychological threats to a woman who is escaping an abusive relationship and an AVO has been issued, why, if brought before the Courts for breaching that AVO, is there any likelihood of bail?

It is possible that these questions will bring responses from the Family Law Court system and the criminal justice system which will be designed to deal with my lack of professional experience in these matters; but, I speak to a broad spectrum of people across Moreton Bay, and I am not alone in asking these questions. These matters occupy the minds of many people and rather than being patronized they deserve, the whole community deserves some sensible answers and some clear leadership in this sordid mess.

It is not hard to expose weaknesses in the system and it is easy to point fingers at those who have to work within our systems; the purpose of these words is not to find fault, the purpose of these words is to highlight these terrible issues, create some community discussion which will lead to some sensible conclusions.

It is a matter of serious concern that the levels of violence and the ferocious anger that drives these levels of violence have reached current levels. Men and women have been at each other’s throats for many, many, many years over equality of relationships, custody of children and disposal of assets: but it is clear that there is a total lack of respect and tolerance for the views of other persons in these matters in our current society.

There is not a simple or a single set of solutions to this; it does seem though, that social media provides a forum for violent expressions that have no recourse or consequence. I mean you can threaten, abuse and intimidate people on social media platforms with near impunity. We know that; we see it with teenagers and the associated bullying, pile ons and direct threats that result in suicide and mental health breakdowns associated with mobile phones and the various ‘ apps ‘ attached to them.

I have personally witnessed bullying in the form of tracking devices attached to mobile phones, electronic stalking and overwhelming flooding of text messages from angry partners during my time as CEO of several large corporate bodies. These matters were dealt with swiftly and effectively using the Police and commonsense.

The Family Law Court was designed to address these matters through the no-fault divorce laws, but obviously, it is not able to do this – and violence associated with these human events is not new. Family Law Judges have been threatened and indeed murdered, by men who refuse to accept the rulings from this Court.

I observe that these emotions have escalated to new levels of intolerance and entitlement – violent solutions and threats of violence are commonplace when relationships begin to break down.

It should also be clear that, in the early stages of relationships breakdowns, females, as well as males, contribute to the lack of tolerance, the emotional anger and the sense of revenge that mitigates against sensible discussions.

So, across this Nation, a wave of boiling anger exists between men and women, as they attempt to use what system is available to them to resolve their differences in relationship breakdown.

How can any system of administration and Court delivered decisions start to deal with that?

The answer is it simply can not. So then, what can we do as a community?

I see great clamouring happening for more Federal funding. For what? What needs more funding?

How much taxpayer money is available, bushfires, drought, climate action, subsidies for the motor industry it just goes on and on….

Australia has become a place where the moment a problem or a difficulty arises; there is a call for taxpayer funding to fix the problem.

I am not convinced that increased taxpayer funding is the answer, there is a strong case for more Police and there is a strong case for giving the AVO system some more muscles.

But…in the end, monsters will find a way and no amount of government funding or extra thousands of Police will ever stop all of this violence.

Love can stop it. Dead in its tracks. Tolerance, respect for other human beings can stop it.

These things, love, tolerance and respect are the human response to this curse which stalks our land.

Maybe this tragedy, this terrible event, will give legs to the above human responses.

May the memory of Hannah Baxter and her Children last long and give comfort to her family and friends.

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Welcome to issue 57, Phew! The election is over. 😊 The LOCAL News would like to congratulate Ali King, Labor Member and MLA for Pumicestone, Ali made quite a lot of promises to our electorate and so

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