‘It cannot be normal that men hurt us women’: what we can learn from the inquest into 4 Aboriginal women’s deaths in the NT

The landmark inquest is investigating how four women killed by their partners were failed by systems meant to protect them. How can we stop this from happening?

Over the past six months in the Northern Territory, Judge Elisabeth Armitage heard evidence about the shocking circumstances surrounding each woman’s death.

Each of the women had experienced years of severe abuse from their male partners, some of whom had served lengthy jail terms, and some of whom had long histories of violence, sometimes against multiple partners.

One of the women had called police 22 times. Another was herself arrested after calling police for help. The family of another was unaware of the exact nature and circumstances of her death and the sentence of her perpetrator because there were no interpreters in court when he was sentenced.

The inquest heard domestic violence has increased by 117% in the past ten years, and is projected to increase a further 73% in the next decade. As a result, police callout times to domestic violence incidents have more than doubled.

In the Northern Territory, domestic, family and sexual violence services are chronically under-funded and under-resourced.

Through the inquest, the specialist domestic, family and sexual violence sector learned that the Northern Territory government had rejected its own working group’s recommendation for funding of $180 million over five years, instead committing to only $20 million over two years.

As Ngeygo Ragurrk’s sister, Edna, said on the last day of the inquest: “It cannot be normal that men hurt us women. Everyone must do more from the start, not just after women get hurt or killed.”

Source: ‘It cannot be normal that men hurt us women’: what we can learn from the inquest into 4 Aboriginal women’s deaths in the NT

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