For these children there will be no egg hunt, no chocolate-filled bellies, no joy.

As my three bright, vivacious children bicker and squabble over an Easter egg hunt, as they moan and groan over who got the most chocolate this is what I think about.

Seventeen women have died from domestic violence this year. On a day of rejuvenation and joy we think of loss, of tragedy and sadness.

Trigger warning: This post deals with family violence and may be triggering for some readers.

My three children woke up early in the darkness this Easter Sunday their eyes shining bright with anticipation.

They were awake the minute they realised what day it was. There were no sleepy, heavy heads today, only that special type of excitement a day like Easter can bring. At ages three, five and seven they still believe in the magic of furry rabbits who bring chocolate…

This Easter we think of the children waking up for their first Easter without their mothers.

It’s an unexpected delight of being a mother – watching the excitement on your children’s faces, sharing their joy, immersing yourself in their happiness. It takes you back to your own childhood.

But this morning, I couldn’t help but think of other children who rose knowing only darkness. Children who woke ready for the day ahead with heavy hearts.

My mind turns to the three children of Tara Costigan’s children. Costigan was killed in an attack on February 28th – just a day after she applied for a domestic violence order. Police allege her ex-partner Marcus Rappel forced his way into her Canberra home and killed her with an axe.

Tara Costigan and her three children (faces digitally disguised)

Rhiley, aged 11-years old, Drew, aged nine-years old, and her youngest daughter Ayla, who was only one-week old when her mother was murdered. A mother she will never know.


Related content: A week ago Tara Costigan was celebrating the birth of her daughter. Now she is dead.

As my three bright, vivacious children bicker and squabble over an Easter egg hunt, as they moan and groan over who got the most chocolate, and I think of 27-year old Jackie O’Hide and her two sons. Her partner was charged with her murder last month in Adelaide.

We think of Jackie O’Hide. We think of Tata Costigan. We think of all 24 women who have died this year from domestic violence.

O’Hide, was found dead in the passenger seat of her car by her two children aged seven and two-and-a-half. The very lives she treasured most, discovered her lifeless body. Their father Toby Awatere, 34, arrested 12 hours later.

As the sugar high wears off my three and the inevitable meltdowns take place, I think of the three young children of Canberra mum Sabah Al-Mdwali, who was found dead just two weeks after Tara Costigan.

Neighbours said that night they heard shouts and screams coming from her home. They said they had heard them before.

Her husband and the father of her three children, 34-year old Maged Mohommed Ahmed Al-Harazi was formally charged with her murder.

As I watch my children search for traces of the Easter bunny, as they look under the sofa and race through the garden trying to disprove their skeptical big brother (who secretly whispered in their ears that maybe the Easter Bunny really is just Mum and Dad) a lump catches in my throat.

All these children…

Adelle Collins was stabbed to death.

The 10-year old son and eight-year old daughter of Adelle Collins killed in Brisbane in February, should be begging their mother, to please eat just one more egg. But they are without their mother after her ex-partner Steven Storie allegedly stabbed her to death. Storie has been arrested over her murder.

One woman dies a week from domestic violence in Australia.woman dies  week as a result of domestic violence. One hospitalized every three hours.

One woman dies in Australia every week in a domestic violence incident.

Someone’s partner, wife, sister, lover, niece, aunty. A child’s mother.

Related content: Another week, another woman dies as a result of domestic violence. We will not stay silent.

A report undertaken by the Queensland Domestic Violence Taskforce 1988 showed that 90% of children present in violent homes had witnessed the violence perpetrated against their mother.

Children witnessing the violence inflicted on their mothers often showed behavioural or emotional problems similar to those experienced by physically abused children.

Studies have shown that at least half of all abusive partners also hit their children and the more severe the abuse of the mother, the worse the child abuse.

And yet…  it continues.

Just this week domestic violence claimed its 17th victim in Australia. 45-year old Salwa Haydar, mother of four, who was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband.

That’s 17 women in the first four months of this year.

45-year-old Salwa Haydar

There have been calls for a national royal commission into domestic violence, for the government to intervene.

There is no doubt in my mind that number will only increase as the year goes on.

This Easter spare a thought for those children, for the families now supporting them – and let’s pray that something is done soon.

If you need help getting a domestic violence order read this post here. 

 If you believe you may be an abusive partner, you can receive help via Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.

If you have experienced, or are at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can receive help by calling 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732.

If you are in immediate danger please call the police on 000.