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Call to address nationís domestic violence epidemic


March 2020

 

There have been tears and anger at a Brisbane vigil for Hannah Clarke and her three children who were murdered by her estranged husband.
More than a thousand family, friends and strangers held a public memorial on Sunday evening, remembering the 31-year-old mother as a beautiful, strong woman, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, as happy and joyful.
Ms Clarke's estranged husband Rowan Baxter doused her and their children with petrol and set them alight in the family car in Camp Hill on Wednesday ó shocking and sickening the nation.
Supported by his father while speaking to mourners, Ms Clarke's brother Nathaniel Clarke described his sister as someone who would always put others before herself.
Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and opposition leader Deb Frecklington joined mourners as they expressed despair about the nation's domestic violence epidemic.
"This unthinkable act of brutality took the lives of three innocent children and their beautiful mother at a time they were striving for a new future," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"They were the victims of one of the most abhorrent incidents of domestic violence to have ever happened in this state.
"To Hannah's family and friends, my words simply cannot convey the devastation and the heartbreak that you must be feeling.
"You must be so proud of the heroic acts your daughter and sister displayed in horrific circumstances.
"Hannah and her children will never ever be forgotten."
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner also expressed his despair, saying the community failed the murder victims.
"We weep for them and the evil that took their lives."
Brisbane City Hall has now set up a charitable trust called Small Steps for Hannah to help support the family money raised will also be used to raise awareness about domestic violence.
A landmark report in 2018 found one woman died every week due to the nation's domestic violence crisis and Palaszczuk government has fast-tracked recommendations from Quentin Bryce's Not Now, Not Ever report to tackle the issue.
The ABC reported that Mr Baxter won part custody of the children, but rejected the offer, a week before he set the family alight.
He was due to face court for allegedly breaching a domestic violence order when he died.


 

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