true crime

Domestic violence has killed 31 women in Australia so far in 2016.

If 2015 benefited from the Rosie Batty effect, it’s hard not to feel that the passionate debate and public consciousness around domestic violence has dwindled this year.

The tragic tales of family homicide have faded to fodder for the odd headline or mid-bulletin snippet on the nightly news. So, why aren’t we still talking about domestic violence? What will it take to lure people out of apathy?

After all, the problem hasn’t suddenly vanished.

Just this week, a man was arrested and charged over the murder of Hillier woman Adeline Rigney-Wilson and her two children, aged five and six.

The 29-year-old’s body was discovered alongside her little ones in their home on the northern outskirts of Adelaide, in a case that police have described as “traumatic” for all involved.

Sadly, the tragic story of the slain mother of two isn’t the first to warrant column inches this year.

According to Destroy The Joint, Adeline was the 31st woman to be violently killed in 2016. In the vast majority of all these cases, according to DTJ, the person ultimately charged by police was either a partner or relative of the victim.

A quick glance at this year’s list and you’ll find names that will be all too familiar if you’re a regular Mamamia reader.

Remember Mengmei Leng, the 25-year-old found stripped, stabbed and floating in Snapper Point blowhole? What about Karen Belej, who was allegedly shot in the head by her partner?

Of course, many of these cases are still under investigation or yet to go to trial, but all signs point to them joining one of Australia’s most shameful crime statistics — our domestic violence rate.

According to ABC Fact Check, one in six Australian women has experienced violence at the hands of a partner since the age of 15, but due to low reporting rates and a lack of adequate, up-to-date data about the frequency and severity of violence, quoting any kind of number is problematic.

The reality is, the stats are likely to be much higher.

Hopefully, a COAG summit on the issue in Brisbane this October will lob the problem back into spotlight.

Because, sadly, the alternative is another shocking story, another tragic headline, another name on that list.