As anchor of A Current Affair, Tracy Grimshaw is used to introducing stories and conducting interviews, but tonight she changed tack. Staring straight down the lens, the veteran journalist delivered an impassioned editorial pleading for action to curb Australia’s most shameful epidemic: domestic violence.
Grimshaw’s heartfelt piece-to-camera was part of special edition of the programme that included the stories of Tara Costigan and Fiona Warzywoda, two women tragically killed by the men they loved, men with whom they shared children – in Tara’s case, a one-week-old baby.
“It’s so important that we talk about domestic violence and, as a society, demand more action and more resources,” said Grimshaw after the segments were aired, “because the death toll in this country is terrifying.”
That toll, Grimshaw noted, equates to one woman dying at the hands of her partner every week, meanwhile countless more are left living in fear every day.
“Perhaps they’re sitting on the couch watching this with the father of their kids, minding their every word and every move in case he loses his temper and lashes out again,” she said.
“Imagine spending every day with your heart in your mouth, not knowing if you’re going to get through tonight, or if you’re going to be beaten black and blue while the kids are cowering in their bedrooms.”
For these women, Grimshaw continued, the answer is not as simple as walking out the door, as that act is often what places them at the greatest risk of being attacked.
Instead: “They need to have a safe place to go; refuges are underfunded. They need counselling to help them understand that it’s not going to get better, that sadly he is not going to change. They need to know that if they take out a domestic violence order against him that is has some teeth; that if he breaches it he won’t get a slap on the wrist and be free to come after them again, this time with a knife or an axe.”