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Violence is always a Choice

National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges Inc



Violence is always a Choice

Three top national organisations are expressing concern over reports that six year old Featherston girl Coral Burroughs was murdered because her step father “just lost it” on the drug “P”.

The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, Child Abuse Prevention Services and the National Network of Stopping Violence Services are echoing their support for workers in drug and alcohol treatment who say that the use of “P” intensifies violent behavior that already exists.

National Manager of the National Network of Stopping Violence Services Brian Gardner said. “In our experience men who use violence against women and children do so to scare them into doing what they want. They use violence against those who they know they can physically over power”.

He went on: “Steven Williams made a choice to punch 6 year old Coral because she wouldn’t do what he wanted, Bruce Howse murdered Saliel and Olympia Aplin because he wanted to keep them quiet. This is not behavior that came “out of the blue” but is a choice these men made.

Heather Henare National Co-ordinator of Child Abuse Prevention Services urges families, friends and community members who know of situations where there is a deadly mix of drugs, alcohol and domestic violence to do something to intervene. “We know it’s hard, but we must all learn to seek help in dealing with situations like this. Coral’s death highlights the fact that those close to offenders, their families and friends need to act to prevent more women and children being harmed”.

All agencies agree that they need more resources for collaborative approaches between government agencies and community groups. Janet Lake from the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges said “We need a co-ordinated multi agency response that assesses the risk an offender presents. Then we can develop a collaborative plan that addresses the needs of everyone involved. This would be a significant step in the prevention of more deaths from domestic violence”.


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