Entries by category: Women

May
12

Domestic violence in LIAC Crime Library

Paul Mulvihill was accused of murdering his former girlfriend Rachelle Yeo in her North Curl Curl unit on 16 July 2012.  

The couple had been in a relationship, which Yeo had ended.  However, in the ensuing months, Yeo, her family, and her employer, became increasingly concerned about the threat to Ms Yeo's safety from Mulvihill.  Ms Yeo had moved house, but Mulvilhill discovered her new address and turned up one evening. Concerned neighbours called the police after hearing screams for help.

A jury found Mulvihill guilty in March 2014 and he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 29 years, with a non-parole period of 22 years commencing on 16 February 2013 (taking into account pre-sentence custody) and expiring on 15 February 2035, with the balance of the term of 7 years expiring on 15 February 2042. He will be first eligible for parole on 15 February 2035.

 
The couple had been in a relationship, which Yeo had ended.  However, in the ensuing months, Yeo, her family, and her employer, became increasingly concerned for her safety from Mulvihill and what he might do to her.  Despite moving house, Mulvilhill discovered her new address and turned up one evening. Concerned neighbours called the police after hearing her desperate screams for help.
 
We have added this case to the LIAC Crime Library – see R v Mulvihill.  You will also find the case about the murder of Lisa Harnum by her boyfriend Simon Gittany.  See R v Gittany.
 
Non-legal responses to the problem of domestic violence
 
·         Online petition on Change.org by Domestic Violence NSW, May 2014
·         White Ribbon - Australia's campaign to stop domestic violence against women 
·         “No excuse, a series of stories on domestic violence” on ABC News, 7pm, starting 6 May 2014 – see “Domestic violence of epidemic proportions a ‘national emergency’: campaign groups” by Juanita Phillips & Ursula Malone, ABC News, 6 May 2014

We have added this case to the LIAC Crime Library – see R v Mulvihill.  You will also find the case about the murder of Lisa Harnum by her boyfriend Simon Gittany.  See R v Gittany.

Non-legal responses and media responses to domestic violence

There have been many responses in the community and media to the problem of domestic violence as illustrated by this incident and many others that happen in which women die or are seriously injured by their partners.  See:

  • Online petition on Change.org by Domestic Violence NSW, May 2014
  •  White Ribbon - Australia's campaign to stop domestic violence against women 
  •  'No excuse, a series of stories on domestic violence' on ABC News, 7pm, starting 6 May 2014 – see 'Domestic violence of epidemic proportions a "national emergency": campaign groups' by Juanita Phillips & Ursula Malone, ABC News, 6 May 2014.

More about domestic violence

You can read more about domestic violence on the following research guides:

Apr
29

Domestic Violence in NSW - an update

The most recent crime statistics show a small increase in the number of recorded assaults that are domestic violence related.  Between January 2009 and December 2013 the increase is 1.9%.  This is in contrast to the number of assaults that are non-domestic violence related which are down by 4.5%.

Source: NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 2013, Table 2.1, page 14. (You might like to read this summary of the report.)

However, these statistics may mask the reality faced by many women in relationships that are characterised by violence.  In 2013, more than 27,000 domestic assaults were reported to NSW police – an average of 94 assaults per day.  Also, it is believed that up to half of all incidents go unreported.

The problem is worse in regional and rural NSW. In Walgett, for example, the rate of domestic violence is eight times the NSW rate and in Bourke it is 11.6 times the NSW rate. (Source: 'Domestic violence: NSW hits 15-year peak' by Rachel Olding, The Age, 12 April 2014 – the article includes a useful interactive chart detailing the anatomy of domestic violence in NSW.)

Recent media reports about domestic violence in NSW

New legislation to commence on 20 May 2014

The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Amendment Bill 2013 which will amend the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 was passed at the end of 2013 and will commence on 20 May 2014.   The amendments will enable senior police officers to issue provisional apprehended domestic violence orders, expand police powers to give directions or detain a person for the purpose of serving a provisional apprehended domestic violence order on them, and provide a number of safeguards to that person.  For more details about the background to the introduction of this Bill see our earlier blog post 'Reforming domestic violence in NSW'.

Non-legal remedies and domestic violence

However, it is also non-legal remedies that women need to help them when they are living in a violent relationship.  If they decide to leave, finding a safe place to live is critical. Esie, Australia’s first women’s refuge was opened in 1974.  It has just celebrated its fortieth birthday.  There are now over 300 women’s shelters across Australia.  For more details about the history of Elsie see '40 years of Elsie' by Mandy Sayer, SMH, 12 April 2014.   

Shelters such as Elsie are critical for many many women who want to escape their violent partners.  Unfortunately, domestic violence shelters such as Elsie face risk of closure. See:

More about domestic and family violence on our research guides: 

 

Mar
20

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors.

The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Key facts about FGM

  • An estimated 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
  • If current trends continue, some 86 million young girls worldwide are likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030.
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth including increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General has said 'There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman'. The United Nations have created an international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation - 6 February.  Source: End Female Genital Mutilation

Legislative response in NSW

The Crimes Amendment (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill 2014 introduced by the Attorney-General Greg Smith in March 2014 to amend the Crimes Act to increase the maximum penalty for performing female genital mutilation from seven years to 21 years imprisonment and to create a new offence of removing a person from New South Wales with the intention of having female genital mutilation performed on that person.

Non-legal responses

Media responses

More about this issue

You can find out more on this topic and investigate it either as a criminal justice issue, a human rights issue or as a law reform in action issue. Use our research guides:

Mar
10

Inspiring change: International Women's Day 2014

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March 2014 across the world.  It is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. 

This day is an excellent example of a non-legal mechanism in achieving justice for women.

Use this day to find out more about:

Mar
3

Human trafficking involving partner migration - a report

A report has been released about women who were trafficked, tricked and trapped into servitude, or slavery, through the partner migration process: 'Help-seeking strategies of victim/survivors of human trafficking involving partner migration' by Kelly Richards and Samantha Lyneham, Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice No 468, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2014.

The report's authors interviewed eight women who had escaped situations of domestic and sexual servitude from their partners and details barriers which count against migrant women in a slavery situation, and strategies they used to escape an abusive partnership.

Find out more

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