Flowers were left outside of the Rosewood home of Michelle Reynolds.
Flowers were left outside of the Rosewood home of Michelle Reynolds. David Nielsen

Fears we are becoming desensitised to domestic violence

ENOUGH is enough - the killing and abuse has to stop.

There have been six alleged domestic violence-related deaths in Queensland since the start of the year, prompting Queensland politicians and frontline domestic violence workers to get this message into our communities and our courts.

A rally calling for the judiciary to get tough on perpetrators will be held at Brisbane's court precinct from 11am on Thursday, April 14.

The rally will also commemorate the six women who have lost their lives to alleged family abuse this year.

Three of the deaths happened in the past three weeks.

Rosewood mother of six Michelle Reynolds died on April 4; 29-year-old Kippa-Ring mum Sandra Peniamina's body was found in her home's driveway on April 1; and 41-year-old Eight Mile Plains woman Olivia Tung was  allegedly kicked to death on March 16.

Each woman's partner has been charged in relation to their deaths.

Though it's important to say the courts have not determined the guilt of the accused - and they deserve a fair trial - if the charges are proved it will add to a shocking domestic violence toll in Queensland in recent times.

DVConnect CEO Di Mangan, whose organisation is one of the driving forces behind next week's Queensland Says Enough rally, said she was appalled by the ongoing violence and the court system's soft approach to sentencing family abuse perpetrators.

Ms Mangan highlighted a Southport domestic violence magistrate's "lenient"  treatment of a Gold Coast businessman who walked free from court last month despite a "protracted" assault on his wife that included bashing her head onto a marble wall in February last year.

Perpetrator Vitali Roesch left his partner with black eyes and severe bruising all over her body, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

Roesch, 45, copped an 18-month jail term, but was paroled for the violent attack.

Roesch's criminal history included domestic violence.

Magistrate Barbara Tynan described his latest attack as a "fairly decent flogging".

Ms Tynan  acknowledged the victim's decision to forgive Roesch for the assault.

"She's fortunate she didn't get killed in the incident," the magistrate said before releasing Roesch because of the impact jail would have on his family and his new business.

Ms Mangan said the decision, particularly coming from a DV-specific magistrate, was beyond comprehension.

"We're basically saying we've had enough," Ms Mangan said.

"We are asking the courts to treat assaults as assaults and don't allow the victims to minimise attacks - don't allow the victims to be manipulated so they minimise the attacks and call for lesser punishments.

"This type of sentencing leaves us with a sinking feeling.

"When I heard about this sentence, I felt depressed."

Ms Mangan said she was also concerned that the wider community was becoming immune to  domestic violence, with people no longer shocked when women were killed by family members.

"We need to express our horror at these tragedies, because there's still a sense of entitlement that they're allowed to kick their partner to death, stab them to death - to unleash the fury of their hatred on a person.

"As a community, we have to be so much more decisive in our response to this behaviour.

"I think the days of shock are over."

She said the deaths of Tara Brown, who was allegedly beaten to death beside a Nerang road last year, and Karina Lock, who was allegedly shot at a Gold Coast fast-food outlet, horrified people but "it's a bit like September 11 shocked the world, but other bombings haven't had the same reaction."

The man charged with Ms Brown's murder has not been found guilty. He has been ordered to stand trial on a date to be fixed.

Queensland Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman told ARM Newsdesk on Thursday that she was not surprised by Ms Mangan's view.

"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the number of devastating deaths caused by domestic violence we have already seen this year, and my thoughts are with the victims' families," Ms Fentiman said.

"Di is absolutely right when she says cultural acceptance of violence is terrifying.

"That's why we need the whole community to come together to say 'enough is enough'."

*For 24-hour support in Queensland, phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, Mensline on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. - ARM NEWSDESK

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