Australia

Leading Australians speak out about domestic violence

Darren Lockyer, former Australian rugby league player Image copyright AAP
Image caption Sports star and father-of-three Darren Lockyer has condemned violence against women

High-profile Australians, including a leading sportsman, have spoken out against domestic violence after a string of attacks against women.

The state of the Queensland was this week shocked by the deaths of two women, allegedly by former partners, and a vicious attack on a third.

Sporting identity Darren Lockyer said the violence had to stop.

He has joined the state premier and other prominent Queenslanders in speaking out.

"It is not the society we want to live in nor should we accept it," said the former Australian Rugby League captain, who is now a TV sports commentator.

"Behaviours don't change overnight but we need to draw a line in the sand and get serious about the way we treat other human beings with respect, especially our women and children," he told local media.

In the wake of the two deaths, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would fast track sweeping new domestic violence legislation.

"What we've just seen over the last few days is atrocious, it's horrific... it's had horrible consequences," Premier Palaszczuk said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A Queensland domestic violence taskforce report has made 140 recommendations

On Tuesday, Queensland woman Tara Brown, 24, was allegedly bashed with a brick by her ex-partner after he drove her off the road, trapping her inside her wrecked car.

She died in hospital, a week after being turned away by police when she sought help to escape the violent relationship.

Image copyright AAP
Image caption Locals created a shrine in memory of one of the victims

Two days later, mother-of-three Karina Lock, 49, was shot in the head by her estranged husband in front of shocked diners at a popular fast food outlet.

In a separate incident on the same day, a 51-year-old man was arrested for allegedly driving his partner's car off the road and chasing her down the street with a machete. She survived the attack.

The three cases have shaken emergency workers and prompted an outpouring of grief on social media.

Image copyright AAP
Image caption Political leaders have called on communities to band together to stamp out domestic violence

It comes as the Council of Australian Governments, the peak inter-governmental forum, is working to better coordinate police and legal action on domestic violence across state and territory borders.

Announcing the plan earlier this year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the scheme would mean a domestic violence court order against an alleged perpetrator in one jurisdiction would hold in another.

The violence should not be allowed to follow women from state to state, he said.

On average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence in Australia, according to government statistics.

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