By Michael Giles
ANY man with a prior for assaulting the same victim, who punches his wife in the face and fractures her eye socket, cheekbone and nose to the point where she requires facial surgery involving plates and screws to be inserted, should go to jail.
No ifs, no buts, no maybes.
In the absence of meaningful corrections reform in this country, the community has come to expect more serious penalties for incidents of violence against women on this scale.
And if Magistrate Lou Hill can’t see that, he should get off the bench (refer front page story this week).
During the UN’s ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence’ – November 25 to December 10 – we’ve all put up our orange-coloured signs and said how bad violence against women is in the community, while calling for action.
But how fair dinkum are we when someone can walk free from court for such a crime in the present climate of family violence?
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Violence Against Women report in January 2017, Australia has a disturbingly high rate of violence against women.
A more recent study has estimated that 27.5% of Australian women have experienced violence or emotional abuse by a current or previous partner.
Many women believe that figure is much higher. They certainly fear it’s much higher.
Violent men, including those who psychologically abuse their partners, need to know that the community abhors such behaviour and that the penalties are harsh, even to the point where they will further impact the family unit when perpetrators are sent to jail.
It’s regrettable of course that the family unit should suffer more but the cost to community of additional policing, medical support and the need for general deterrence are factors that should also be taken into account when sentencing in individual cases.
Of course, if there was a more comprehensive way of dealing with violent offenders so that it didn’t impact the victims further; we’d like to hear about it but some people simply won’t learn.
Should one-punch perpetrators with priors, who “recklessly cause serious injury” go to jail – yes, almost certainly.
Should there be mandatory sentencing for such crimes, no, but you can understand why many in the community call for it.