A Coroner has investigated the deaths of two Northern Territory women and found that domestic violence levels are ‘horrendous.’
Greg Cavanagh noted that there’s little evidence that law and order measures are having any impact and that violence levels especially in Indigenous communities are “literally out of control.”
“The circumstances of these two deaths reveal the stark reality that the criminal justice system fails to protect women from domestic violence. That is to say, policing and punitive sentences do not provide an answer to stopping the violence.”
The Guardian reported that 36-year-old Wendy Murphy suffered through 45 episodes of domestic violence before her partner killed her in a brutal and prolonged beating.
Natalie McCormack, 31, died in 2015 and her partner told police her stab wounds were self-inflicted. Police records indicate that she suffered 32 episodes of domestic violence prior to her death.
“In my view some of the answers are likely to be found in the significant social-economic disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.”
“All of those factors that go to make up that disadvantage are in the context of what is becoming a cycle of generational family violence.”
The investigation casts a spotlight on an important issue. Why in the decade leading to both of these women’s deaths was the criminal justice system unable to stop the violence and their eventual deaths?
Cavanagh encouraged police to use body cameras in order to record cases of domestic violence so that they can be used as evidence against offenders.
He also recommended that alternative implementation strategies be put in place and that domestic violence cases be given priority so they can be processed faster and ensure the safety of victims.