Warning: This post is about domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.
At least 34 women this year have allegedly died in circumstances of family or intimate partner violence.
On 26 June, an unnamed 36-year-old woman was found shot dead in Hermidale, NSW. Her partner, 61-year-old retired handyman Allan O’Connor, handed himself in to police on 28 June — and has since been charged with her murder and with the murder of another man, according to ABC News.
Fairfax Media reports Acting Superintendent Andrew Hurst said last week that while he couldn’t “speculate on motive… I can say that investigators believe the 61-year-old-man and the 36-year-old-woman were previously involved in a domestic relationship.”
The Daily Telegraph reports the victim was a single mother who had previously complained to friends about being in a “possessive relationship,” and that days before her death, the alleged victim told Mr O’Connor she wanted to end their relationship.
That “intense argument” took place outside the tiny town’s only shop.
This tragic death brings the total number of women killed in circumstances of alleged or apparent family or intimate partner violence in Australia to at least 34 this year (as investigations continue in a number of cases, it’s legally difficult to determine the exact figure.)
Domestic violence is the single greatest killer of women aged between 15 and 44, and has reached such epidemic proportions in Australia that domestic violence survivor Rosie Batty has referred to it as “family terrorism” in an attempt to draw government attention to the issue.
Regardless of class, age, location, race or religion — every woman is at risk.
How many women have to die before something changes?
The following women have also lost their lives in circumstances where they should have felt safe. Some of these matters are still before the courts – meaning their alleged murderers have not yet been convicted – while the details of relationships between some of the victims and alleged perpetrators remain unclear:
If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.