These women are not statistics: A Tanya Plibersek speech that must be heard

This is an extract from a speech Tanya Plibersek delivered in Parliament earlier today.

This morning we woke to a front page story in the Canberra Times about the brutal murder of Tara Costigan.

Tara had sought, and gained, an interim domestic violence order against the man now charged with murdering her, just one day before her death. 

Her sister, and another man, were injured in the same attack.  

Tara had two sons, and a little girl not much more than a week old.

Her family want us to remember that she died defending them.

Tara hoped that the provisions of the law and the resources of her government would protect her.

They did not.

Tara Costigan is not the only, is far from the only, Australian woman our community, our legal system, our governments have failed.

Rinabel Tiglao Blackmore died from injuries sustained when, in fear of her life, she jumped from a moving car.

Leila Alavi was stabbed to death.

Nikita Chawla was found dead in a unit in Brunswick West. 

Ainur Ismagul was found dead at her home. 

Kerry Michael was found beaten to death on Mt Roland. 

Adelle Collins was stabbed to death at her home.

Fabiana Palhares died of injuries from being attacked with an axe in her home. 

Renee Carter was stabbed to death. 

These are just the cases where police have laid charges, and identified those charged as partners or ex-partners of the victims.

These are just the cases this year.

Our usual formulation is to say that nearly one in five, 17%, of Australian women aged 18 and over have experienced violence from a partner, or a former partner, since the age of 15.

That is nearly one and half million women.

More than 130,000 Australian women have been the victims of violence by a current or a previous partner in the last 12 months.

How many thousands of women, right now, how many thousands of women and their children are living in terror in their own homes?

How many have fled everything known and familiar, changed jobs, moved house, moved state – perhaps not for the first time – in a desperate attempt to escape?

How many are afraid to leave, in fear that leaving will lead to their murder? In fear that the mechanisms of the courts and the resources of the law will not, ultimately, deter or prevent their abuser from killing them? Or because they have nowhere to go?

These women are not statistics. Each and every one of them is a daughter, a sister, perhaps a mother, an aunt – each and every one of them is part of our community and to each and every one of them we owe an unyielding determination that this will stop.

Everyone of them is a human being and everyone of them is a citizen of this country and is owed this.

Since the beginning of this year, one family every week has been left to mourn a loss that should never have happened; one family a week has been left with a hole in their hearts that will never be filled. And to them, too, we owe it to say: this will stop.

We call on the Government to stand with us today: to say with us: this will stop.

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