At Sydney’s Waverley Court tomorrow, two prominent male personalities are due to face court after being served apprehended violence orders on behalf of their well known female partners.
Celebrity accountant Anthony Bell says he will fight allegations he pushed his wife, former Getaway presenter Kelly Landry, after police took out an interim Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against him following the alleged incident said to have occurred in November last year. The couple have two young daughters together.
Meanwhile, former Test cricketer Stuart MacGill was placed on a temporary AVO by police on Boxing Day, and instructed not to approach or contact his fiancee, Julie Singleton, the former wife of millionaire ad tycoon John Singleton.
The fact that the two similar situations of alleged domestic violence have coincided has prompted a spate of coverage in the press — Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph today contributed their front page, plus a whole spread, to reporting the two incidents, with several days of coverage still likely to follow.
The extensive press coverage is not surprising given the prominence of the people involved, but the underlying message is powerful: not only is domestic violence finally receiving the coverage is deserves - but more and more women are comfortable in coming forward to protect themselves and their families.
While the most recent Australian Personal Safety Survey, conducted in 2012, revealed that more than half of those affected by domestic violence never call the police, domestic violence has rightfully received the media attention and political focus it so desperately needed in Australia over the last few years.
Labelled an “epidemic” by 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, whose son Luke was murdered at the hands of his father, one in three Australian women have experienced physical and or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
Batty’s tireless campaigning has resulted in increased government funding, and in October 2016 the Turnbull government released details of a $100 million domestic violence package, including $30 million for front-line legal assistance and family law services to reduce violence against women and children. Extensive media coverage has also ensued, including the award winning ABC series Hitting Home, in which journalist Sarah Ferguson spent six months on the front line of domestic and family violence.
Unquestionably, domestic violence is a serious and widespread issue in Australia, and we are sadly yet to see a reduction in the percentage of women affected by it. But for women to have the courage to speak out against it is hopefully a step in the right direction towards overturning the statistics.
In the alleged domestic violence cases concerning Anthony Bell’s wife Kelly Landry and Stuart MacGill’s fiancée Julie Singleton — who face much higher levels of scrutiny and media attention due to their celebrity status — the risk of reporting the situation comes at a higher cost to themselves and families.
Both Singleton and Landry should be applauded for standing up to the alleged violent behavior and placing the matter in the hands of the law. Their decision to do so will hopefully encourage and motivate the other thousands of Australian women affected by domestic violence to do the same.