It has been 63 days since Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared she was drawing a line in the sand against the scourge of domestic violence. And 61 days since the one-year anniversary of the horrific murder of Hannah Clarke and her children.

While some important steps towards changes that survivors and families of domestic violence victims say are desperately needed have been taken since Ms Clarke's death, sadly Queensland women continue to die at the hands of their partners.

The unthinkable death of Kelly Wilkinson, 27, allegedly at the hands of her estranged partner, Brian Johnston, has once again shown that every day without reform is a day a life could be lost.

Ms Wilkinson's charred body was found in the back yard of her Arundel home on Tuesday, with police alleging Mr Johnston had set fire to the mother-of-three.

Her children will now grow up without their mother.

And sadly they are not alone.

DV murders are perpetrated in Queensland at a rate of more than two a month, statistics have shown, with children themselves all too often counted among the dead.

Since the Premier's February 17 declaration, at least three Queensland women, including Ms Wilkinson, have died at the hands of their former partners.

The bodies of Doreen Langham and her ex-partner were found inside her Browns Plains home, which had been gutted by fire, on February 22.

The Courier-Mail later revealed Doreen asked for help from police daily in the lead-up to her death and called triple-0 just hours before she was killed.

 

Kelly Wilkinson is the latest victim of alleged domestic violence murder. (Facebook image)
Kelly Wilkinson is the latest victim of alleged domestic violence murder. (Facebook image)

 

Just three days after Doreen's death, 82-year-old Robyn Beever was allegedly murdered by her husband in their Gold Coast home.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman yesterday announced funding of $2.5 million for domestic, family and sexual violence service providers to help them cope with increasing demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Every death from domestic and family violence is unacceptable and a tragedy," Ms Fentiman said.

Importantly, the Palaszczuk Government has also committed to criminalising coercive control during this term of parliament, which may well prove to be the most significant reform of their four-year term.

Ms Clarke's family has been campaigning for coercive control laws, which can include controlling a person's access to money, who they see and what they wear.

To her credit, Ms Fentiman has also announced a wide-ranging review into the problems women face seeking justice for domestic violence offences, headed by former Supreme Court judge Margaret McMurdo AC.

The taskforce's first job is to develop a way to legislate against coercive control and is due to report on this in October.

The Palaszczuk Government has a good record on enacting domestic violence reforms and these announcements continue that trend.

There is no denying it is imperative this vital legislation is well-considered and understandably this takes time.

But October is still 162 days away, and with lives at stake we cannot help but count the days until the next step towards this crucial legislation is taken.

 

 

FLOYD VERDICT MEANS WE CAN BREATHE AGAIN

 

The murder of George Floyd lasted almost 10 minutes, which would have seemed like an eternity for Mr Floyd and those who witnessed it. But justice has been swift.

It took just 10 hours for a jury of five men and seven women to convict Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin of killing Mr Floyd during an arrest in May last year.

Chauvin now potentially faces life behind bars. It was the right decision by the jury.

Mr Floyd's death was a watershed moment for the US and it was encouraging to hear US President Joe Biden pledge, "We can't stop here."

The verdict has prompted collective sighs of relief both from those hungry for change and those who feared mass riots could erupt.

Those most comforted by the verdict though are Mr Floyd's family.

"I got messages from all over the world; Ghana, London … saying 'we can't breathe until you can breathe'," brother Philonise Floyd said.

We breathe with you.

 

Responsibility for election comment is taken by Chris Jones, corner of Mayne Rd & Campbell St, Bowen Hills, Qld 4006. Printed and published by NEWSQUEENSLAND (ACN 009 661 778). Contact details are available here

Originally published as Editor's view: More women dying while we wait for tougher laws