How do we stop women being burned alive?
"DEAR God, not again."
It was the thought that crossed all our minds when news broke of yet another woman burned to death allegedly by her estranged partner.
Kelly Wilkinson, 27, should have spent this week filling lunch boxes, brushing messy hair and doing school drop offs with her three children aged under nine.
Her generous kind-heartedness and smiling blue eyes should still be spreading warmth among her family and friends.
Instead, she was torched in an inferno in her Gold Coast backyard early Tuesday morning.
It was the second day back to school after the Easter holidays. Her sobbing children crouched nearby watching her die.
Kelly's ex-husband and former US Marine Brian Earl Johnston, 34, who is in an induced coma, was charged with murder.
It's impossible to imagine Kelly's terror during those final moments, sacrificing herself to protect her children, dying in immense pain, knowing that she did all she could to break free but it was still not enough to save her.
No human with a beating heart could possibly become desensitised to mothers being burned alive in front of their children.
And yet, how much more can we take?
Three Queensland women and three children have been burned to death in alleged domestic violence attacks in the past 14 months: Kelly Wilkinson, Doreen Langham, 49, and Hannah Clarke, 31, with her children Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey.
Kelly is now the third Queensland victim of alleged domestic violence in the past 62 days along with Doreen and Robyn Beever, 82, since the state government declared yet another taskforce to tackle domestic violence, this time into coercive control.
But how many more confected talk fests and overwritten reports do we need?
One woman is killed every nine days and 17 adults are hospitalised every day due to assaults by a partner or family member, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Personal Safety Survey.
If we can shut down an entire state over a handful of positive cases of COVID-19, surely more immediate action can be taken to tackle domestic violence?
How can we force an entire state to wear face masks, but we can't protect innocent lives being lost to a far more pervasive social disease?
"I'm not so naive to think that we can stop them all, but we can do better," Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said yesterday, addressing questions over Kelly's death.
Whatever chaotic and fractured system our police and courts rely upon to manage domestic violence is clearly not working.
A DVO is in place in one-third of domestic and family violence murders in Queensland.
Of the 31,274 Domestic Violence Order breaches in Queensland in 2019, only 15 per cent were imprisoned, just over 11 per cent were fined and 9 per cent got a community-based order. The rest? Walked away scot-free.
Queensland Police were informed just four weeks ago of Kelly's fears over her estranged partner's alleged breaches. She had also sought help from domestic violence organisations that had also contacted police on her behalf, Assistant Commissioner Codd confirmed.
It's a heartbreaking repetition seen again and again.
Hannah Clarke also had a DVO against her former husband but it was watered down by a judge a month before her murder.
Fabiana Palhares, 34, also had a DVO when she and her unborn baby were killed in 2015 on the Gold Coast, as did Tara Brown, 24, who was run off the road and bludgeoned to death by an ex-partner who had repeatedly breached DVOs.
Karina Lock - shot in the head by her ex-husband in a McDonald's in 2015 - had believed a DVO would keep her safe, as did 20-year-old Shelsea Schilling, who was murdered by her former boyfriend in 2016.
Teresa Bradford was killed in her bed in 2017 by her ex-husband who had just been released from custody on bail, despite police opposing his release.
How many more dead women who desperately believed a DVO would protect them will it take for more to be done?
We need a far more rigorous system of protection beyond useless DVOs, weak thresholds and toothless magistrates who fail to crackdown on breaches.
Our response must be tougher - whether that means more family courts, ankle trackers, severe financial fines or compulsory detention camps for repeat DVO breach offenders.
Something must be done now.
It should not be this hard for victims and survivors of domestic abuse to get protection and to stay alive.
Originally published as How do we stop women being burned alive?