We need to be careful with data in the media.
Domestic violence is a very important social issue. It is also very important that we are accurate and concise with the statistical information that we use.
There are many violence against women groups that raise awareness on the topic. These kind's of awareness campaigns are important. It brings to light a very important issue that should be discussed. Discussions of violence should not be taboo.
The Red Heart Campaign (TRHC) is one of those groups. It is run by a prominent journalist that has a passion for the topic. Sherele Moody runs both the Red Heart Campaign and the Australian femicide map, which is a memorial to some men, women and children lost to manslaughter in Australia.
The map is a work of art, and having made a similar map myself, I am fully aware of the amount of effort required to go into creating and maintaining it.
The Red Heart Campaign, rightly so, is a fantastic tool for bringing awareness to the topic of violence against women. TRHC also keeps an annual count of female victims lost to preventable deaths each year.
TRHC counts all deaths regardless of the perpetrator's gender or relationship to the victim.
TRHC intends to show how many women die in Australia to things such as;
- Domestic violence
- Violence by strangers
- Terrorist attacks
- Accidental killings by partners
- Murders/manslaughters of Australian's overseas by foreigners.
This sometimes changes and other forms of deaths are later added to the list.
Sometimes, these counts make their way into domestic violence articles and even onto domestic violence support services webpages, to show how many women are dying each year to preventable causes.
Whilst this is important, it sometimes can unintentionally conflate many different issues and unless someone has done a lot of research on each individual death, this can cause a series of conflations of different issues to occur.
Many viewers can unintentionally perceive this as the number of domestic violence deaths that have occurred (given they are on DV support pages, or even in domestic violence articles).
These same people then go on to repeat this number on other forums, and this is where the issue starts. An incorrect figure accidentally makes its way into the public domain.
A domestic violence support group shares the Red Heart campaigns death count.
A lady unknowingly cites the figure as a domestic violence statistic. She was being corrected that 10 females had been murdered due to DV at the time.
Whilst I am certain this is unintentional, its very important for people not to conflate the issues.
Below we will list every female death from The Red Heart Campaign and individually explain them. This list is correct as of the "23 women murdered" displayed in the images above - 2nd May 2019.
As you would note, the Red Heart Campaign also flag which events they believe are domestically violent related:
Non-Australian and non-DV related are highlighted RED
DV related are highlighted GREEN.
1.) FEMICIDE woman killed, The Basin, VIctoria. MALE* charged: https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/the-basin-murder-charge-elderly-man-in-police-custody/news-story/dbae6a670e036b391a4793e8103e0f8a
At the time of writing, its unknown if this murder was domestically violent related. TRHC have also not flagged this as a DV incident.
2.) FEMICIDE woman killed (Australian woman) London. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/europe/melbourne-woman-bashed-to-death-in-london-by-fiance-after-relationship-deteriorated-20190502-p51j8e.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed
This death is a domestic violence incident, however, it occurred in the United Kingdom and the perpetrator was not an Australian. This incident should not be present on an Australian domestic violence count, as it occurred overseas by a foreigner. It is not reflective of an Australian issue or a death that occured in Australia, by an Australian.
3.) FEMICIDE woman killed, Melbourne, Vic. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.news.com.au/news/national/man-charged-with-murder-over-after-woman-dead-in-melbourne-cbd/news-story/69dfec0d7670ebd7dadb3d62e31bef81
This is a domestic violence related event in Australia
4.) FEMICIDE woman killed, Sri Lanka. MALE* suspects: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-23/sri-lanka-bombing-victims-manik-suriaaratchi-daughter-alexendria/11040242
This has no connection to domestic violence at all. This was a death by terrorism in Sri Lanka.
5.) FEMICIDE Minto, NSW. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.9news.com.au/national/sydney-news-man-arrested-after-womans-body-found-at-minto-police-crime-campbelltown/18248bec-18a2-4307-97e1-f8b06a153f8b
This is a domestic violence-related event, however, there is the chance it may be in self defence. We will include this as a DV related event because regardless if it was self defence, it is a DV event.
6.) FEMICIDE woman killed, Kooringal, NSW: SUSPECTS unknown: https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/6049223/house-fire-that-killed-kooringal-woman-deliberately-lit/
Perpetrator unknown. Unknown DV event, Victim died by intentionally lit fire. Possible suicide.
7.) FEMICIDE woman killed Syndenham, NSW. SUSPECTS unknown: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/terrifying-ordeal-homicide-detectives-probe-death-of-sydenham-woman-vicki-ramadan-20190407-p51bnv.html
Non DV related event. No perpetrator is known.
8.) CHILD killed, Townsville, QLD. WOMAN^ charged (DV): https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/townsville/breaking-mum-of-boys-found-in-river-charged-with-manslaughter/news-story/638c843e9f5874de47b0b3883c58fc7a
DV event. Two children killed by mother. Unfortunately, being a 'violence against women' count, people may presume this is a male perpetrator.
9.) FEMICIDE woman killed, Punjab, India. One MALE* suspect, two FEMALE^ suspects (DV): https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/article/2019/03/18/australian-nri-woman-kidnapped-india-says-family?cid=inbody:dead-body-of-missing-australian-woman-found-in-india-husband-charged
This is technically DV. However, the person responsible for killing this woman, was another woman. It also occurred in a foreign country and has no reflection of DV within Australia. There was also heavy culture influence in the killing. It is not reflective of an Australian issue, nor is it reflective of mens violence against women, as its often sold as in the total number.
10.) FEMICIDE woman killed Moora, WA. MALE* charged (poss DV): https://www.communitynews.com.au/the-advocate/news/man-charged-with-murder-over-moora-death
There is no information to suggest this was domestically violent related. TRHC have even flagged it 'Poss DV'.
11.) FEMICIDE woman killed Glendale, SA. MALE* suspect (DV): https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/glendale-womans-murder-death-tafari-walton-wanted/news-story/407d014778d08c4ed5ac6af6dca968d4
This is a confirmed DV incident.
12.) FEMICIDE woman killed Parramatta, NSW. MALE* charged (poss DV): https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/crime/man-charged-over-missing-sydney-woman-baker/news-story/46de52fa7e5928a5e5bf7bf93d574c03
This was not a DV incident. The victim was not in any kind of domestic or family relationship with the perpetrator. The perpetrator was a not well known 'acquaintance'. This does not fit the legal definition of DV.
13.) FEMICIDE woman killed Ashbury, NSW. FEMALE^ suspect: https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/cleaner-charged-with-murder-of-92yearold-woman-who-employed-her/news-story/34fe552a5a9b1c4fba88ff65775de5fa
Woman murdered by her female cleaner This was not a DV incident. Will be painted as male violence towards women in the total number.
14.) FEMICIDE woman killed Kingsford, NSW. MALE* suspect (DV): https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-06/body-of-sydney-dentist-preethi-reddy-found-in-suitcase/10874212
We will consider this one borderline. There is no evidence as yet that this is DV related. The victims ex-partner was killed in a car accident the day after the victim's murder. Its believed the accident was possibly suicide. It may be circumstantial, however at this point in time its unknown.
15.) FEMICIDE woman killed Burwood East, Victoria. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/woman-found-dead-in-burwood-east-man-arrested/news-story/6ae3916532a34ab1224bf8e15fb624e5
Once again, nothing to suggest this is DV related. Since the 10 year campaign to end violence against women, all DV events against women are reported with "Domestic Violence" within the articles. There is no such mention in this article.
16.) FEMICIDE woman killed Woonona, NSW. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/woonona-man-charged-with-murder-of-elderly-mother/news-story/8715c0c5637e35cee9d070e98238ca71
This is a DV incident.
17.) FEMICIDE woman killed, Ballarat, Vic. MALE* charged (woman on accessory offence): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6722151/PICTURED-Tamara-Farrell-murdered-woman-remains-dumped-Sale-road.html
This is not a DV incident.
18.) FEMICIDE woman killed, Karawatha, QLD. 4 MALE* and 1 FEMALE^ suspect: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-09/crime-scene-set-up-after-woman-shot-dead-at-karawatha-home/10796586
This is not a DV incident which also includes a female suspect. It will be sold as male violence towards women.
19.) FEMICIDE woman killed Merrylands, NSW. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-05/73-year-old-man-charged-with-stabbing-murder-of-wife/10780124
20.) FEMICIDE woman killed Balga, WA. MALE* charged (DV): https://www.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/man-charged-with-balga-murder-after-woman-found-dead-20190204-p50vi9.html
21.) FEMICIDE woman killed Frenchville, Qld. MALE* suspect: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-31/rockhampton-deaths-wife-confirmed-as-second-person-found/10767240
This may be a DV incident. Both husband and wife were found dead. The sister stated that the husband must of shot her. The sister had no way of knowing what happened as she was not present. It may have been a murder suicide, or joint suicide. We would have to wait for the investigation to conclude.
22.) FEMICIDE woman killed Mendoza, Argentina. MALE* charged: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-brother-of-israeli-women-murdered-in-argentina-nephew-the-suspect-is-psycho-1.6883169
This actually is a domestic violence incident (incorrectly labeled by Red Heart), however, the victim was not Australian, the death occurred overseas, and the perpetrator was a foreigner. There is no reason at all for this to be on an Australian count.
23.) FEMICIDE woman killed Pretty Pine, NSW. MALE* charged: https://www.miragenews.com/woman-dies-in-hospital-after-shooting-charge-upgraded-nsw/
This is not a DV incident. The couple were in a relationship. They were a happy loving couple however there was an accidental discharge of a firearm when the loving couple went hunting, resulting in the female's death. There was no 'violence' between the couple.
24.) FEMICIDE woman killed Bundoora, Victoria. MALE* charged: https://tendaily.com.au/news/australia/a190115hwi/body-found-near-melbourne-shopping-centre-20190115
6 confirmed female victims
5 confirmed female victims of domestic violence homicide with male suspects/charged.
1 woman murdered by another woman
5 women were suspects in all murders
1 woman murdered 2 children
Accuracy and non-conflation is important.
Whilst this conflation of data is not the fault of the The Red Heart Campaign, journalists that use the information need to be more careful with researching what the data represents. As we have shown here, the data can easily be misconstrued as something else.
This has the effect of incorrect data being cited in the media and making a very important problem look much larger than it actually is. This has the effect of causing un-needed fear.
According to the Red Heart Campaigns own count, 7 of those incidents were confirmed domestically violent related. The other problem with the total count, is it can be portrayed as deaths of women, by men as they are often cited in 'mens violence against women' articles. As we can see, some of those murders were committed by females and most were not DV related, nor occurred in Australia by Australians.
Whilst still a tragic number, less than 1/3rd are DV related, however, are being cited as such. This is horribly inaccurate.
Even though TRHC has listed 6 women and 4 children (2 of which were murdered by a mother) as dying resultant from DV, DVAA has identified 10 women who have died due to DV in Australia. Accuracy is key.
The information on the RHC page is always treated very differently. Whilst the Red Heart Campaign does capture male victim death counts, that number never makes it to the media.
If male death count is discussed online, the focus is always the gender of the perpetrator, however when the discussion is female victims, the focus is always the victim's gender.
Same is also true for child homicides and murders.
Why the difference in reporting?