By Gael Jennings & Margaret Simmons, The Conversation
Did the grim story of dapper real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay’s calculated murder of his wife Allison in April 2012, played out recently in a Brisbane court with a life sentence, make you feel afraid? Did it make you feel as if the norm of men caring for their partners and children has flipped to a darker side, where filicide and homicide are creeping into what was once the centre of safety?
You would, in truth, be justified in your fears. We know the statistics now; they are no longer a closely guarded secret, ignored as “domestics” by the police and the media. Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of preventable death, illness and disability in Victorian women aged 15-44 – more than smoking or obesity or illicit drugs or alcohol.
Violence against women is a largely hidden problem, yet manifests in and forms part of the backdrop to most other more visible health issues. The cost of violence against women to the Australian economy, including direct and indirect physical and mental health services, is estimated to rise to A$15.6 billion a year by 2021.