Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Family Violence

My adjournment debate is for the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence in the other place. In the Coroners Court’s findings for the suicide of a man who I shall refer to as ‘Mr A’ from Bannockburn, there was a deep history of family violence. Mr A had physically assaulted his daughter and physically, sexually and emotionally assaulted wife in the few years before his death. He also threatened to kill his wife in front of their kids. Mr A had suffered a series of serious head knocks during his life, leading to an acquired brain injury, and so it was thought that this may have contributed to his escalating behaviour. Intervention orders with exclusion zones and no-contact orders were issued as a result. Some time later Mr A was given a document from Victoria Legal Aid suggesting that the intervention application had been withdrawn. Mr A took this as the intervention order having been scrapped, possibly having misunderstood due to his acquired brain injury. He returned to the family home, but the locks had been changed. His wife, who was not home, contacted police to let them know that he was breaching the order, and the police notified Mr A that the order was actually still in place. He then left his wife a voice message saying, ‘I love you. I love the kids. If I can’t be with you and I can’t be with the kids, I have to end my life. Sorry’. He then hung himself.

Mr A committed suicide, which is tragic, but we could very well have seen another story on the news titled ‘Bannockburn man kills wife and children before he kills himself’, and that is why I am so concerned about this case—it is the what-ifs. Mr A had been seeing a GP in the years before his death. He told his GP he had been accused of family violence against both his wife and one of his children on multiple occasions. It is worrying not only that the GP did not fulfil their mandatory reporting obligations under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 but that further support and prevention help was not offered aside from medication. The multi-agency risk assessment and management, otherwise known as MARAM, framework was developed post royal commission to better identify and assess risk in family violence cases, but GPs are not prescribed as part of it. In 2015 the then State Coroner recommended mandatory family violence training for GPs— (Time expired)


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