However, the comments by senior police have alarmed some domestic violence organisations that fear the comments may dilute efforts to reduce violence against women and that female perpetrators of domestic violence are overwhelmingly “the exception, not the rule”.
The 53-year-old woman from Kangaroo Point allegedly stabbed her former partner multiple times at his Newmarket home in Brisbane’s inner north-west around 7pm on Wednesday.
She has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of going armed so as to cause fear.
Brisbane Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said the “distressing” and “abhorrent” incident was another case showing that domestic violence perpetrators and victims came from all genders, cultures, and social classes.
He said the case showed there were no boundaries when it came to domestic violence, and it was important to “tell the truth about the breadth of the problem”.
“Domestic violence is an offence type that knows no boundaries in terms of victims or offenders,” Fleming said.
“We, as police, see both genders as victims and offenders. We see people of all categories of wealth – poor, rich. Social status plays no part, education plays no part, race, or sexuality.
“And I think it’s an important that we take an objective view, particularly at this time when there’s a lot of community focus on domestic violence…this is not the first of this type of offence in Brisbane where the stereotypical offender-victim is not the case.”
Domestic violence leaders said the comments did reflect that domestic violence could affect anyone, regardless of gender, culture or social standing.
Vanessa Fowler, who has just been appointed as Co-Chair of Queensland’s Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council and is Chair of The Allison Baden-Clay Foundation, said domestic violence didn’t discriminate.
“Everyone needs to be very aware that males can be victims too,” Fowler said.
“It’s not postcode specific, it doesn’t discriminate on education levels, religion, ethnicity. It occurs with people from all walks of life.
“But I do still stress that overwhelmingly, women are the victims.”
Red Rose Foundation chief executive Betty Taylor said women were overrepresented as victims in domestic violence cases.
She said it was misrepresentation to suggest there was “parity” between male and female domestic violence offenders.
“I think to conflate that to a parity in domestic violence that doesn’t exist isn’t helpful,” she said.
“It’s not denying that women can be violent, and women can commit homicide, I’m not saying that at all. But I think when we have an exception to the rule, it doesn’t change the rule.
“We acknowledge there will always be exceptions to the rule and send our sympathies to all involved in this shocking loss of life.”
Around Australia, 19 women so far this year have been violently killed, according to the violence against women register recorded by activist group Destroy the Joint.
In Queensland, four women have allegedly been murdered in domestic violence incidents in the past 15 months.
In the most recent shocking case, Gold Coast mother of three Kelly Wilkinson was allegedly burnt to death by her former partner Brian Earl Johnston, 34, from New Beith near Logan, in the back yard of her home.
The alleged murder of Wilkinson had horrific similarities to the violent death of Brisbane mum Hannah Clarke in February last year. Clarke, 31, and her children all aged under six, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, were murdered in Brisbane’s Camp Hill after her estranged husband Rowan Baxter ambushed them on the morning school run.
Last year, Queensland Police responded to more than 107,000 domestic violence occurrences – that’s one every five minutes. Police estimate around 40 per cent of a front line officer’s time is spent attending to jobs that encompass elements of domestic and family violence.
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