Calls for royal commission after domestic violence wave

There are calls for a royal commission after a spate of domestic violence deaths in SA.

There are calls for a royal commission after a spate of domestic violence deaths in SA. Photo: Getty

A royal commission into domestic violence is “urgently needed” following the deaths of four women in one week in South Australia.

Hundreds of advocates are expected to brave the wet weather to rally outside Parliament House in Adelaide on Friday after the murder of 55-year-old mother Jodie Jewell by her husband on Tuesday rounded off a horrific seven days for the state.

Domestic violence services peak body Embolden SA co-chair Maria Hagias said a national probe would mean better-targeted funding.

“Domestic, family and sexual violence is a whole-of-government, non-government and whole-of-community responsibility,” she said.

“A royal commission will help our state target much-needed investment where it will have the most impact, across prevention, early intervention, crisis response and recovery.”

New statistics from the AIHW show that more than half of assault injury hospitalisations in 2021–22 involving children under 15, where the perpetrator was specified, were domestic violence-related.

Family and domestic violence is also one of the main reasons that women and children lose or are at risk of losing their home.

More than half of children under 10 who were supported by specialist homelessness services in 2021–22 had experienced family and domestic violence.

Latrobe University family violence researcher Leesa Hooker said a royal commission examining the issue at a national level would be a “fabulous start”.

“Because it is a crisis,” Dr Hooker told AAP.

“If it was men being murdered once a week it would have been stamped out a long time ago.

“Misogyny and the patriarchal structures in Australia are still alive and well.”

Dr Hooker said there was also a gap in evidence available for perpetrators of violence.

SA Attorney-General Kyam Maher said the government was looking to pass legislation to crack down on people who breach intervention orders, would review strangulation laws and is conducting consultation on coercive control laws.

“It is a tragedy when anybody loses their life but it’s alarming that it’s happening so frequently across Australia,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Rates of violence against women were once again under the national spotlight last month after the shocking death of 21-year-old school teacher Lilie James.

Last year, state and territory governments released a revised national plan to end violence against women and children over the next 10 years.

The nation’s largest coronial inquest into domestic violence has just wrapped up in the Northern Territory, where domestic violence homicide rates are seven times higher than the national average.

Member for Goldstein Zoe Daniel will introduce a bill to federal parliament on Monday calling for urgent action and investment.

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