Statement regarding Helena Broadbent - VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett

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4 October 2019

I wanted to write to you in the wake of the devastating loss of Aboriginal woman, Helena Broadbent, and the heartbreaking circumstances which led her newborn baby to be in a critical condition. Helena was killed in an incident after she was thrown or fell from her car in an incident with her partner – which is being investigated by Victoria Police.

Helena was a mother, daughter, sister, and valued in the Victorian Aboriginal community – and I am deeply saddened by her loss and extend my heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

The circumstances of Helena’s death require thorough investigation and to do this, circumstances of her life and how our justice, family violence and child protection service systems might have done more to prevent her violent death, need to be reviewed.

Women die every week in Australia at the hands of their intimate partner – and it is disturbing that it takes the loss of an Aboriginal women to recognise that we need to explore and learn from how the system has been unable to respond to the needs of those who suffer from family violence. We must assess and improve current approaches to addressing family violence and holding perpetrators to account.

Such incidents don’t occur in isolation, they typically come at the end of a pattern of disrespecting women, of coercion and control, and of physical and other forms of violence. The circumstances surrounding this violent incident are a sobering reminder of the severe impacts of domestic and family violence.

We all have a part to play in ending family violence and it is crucial that within our community we look out for one another and call out domestic and family violence.

Nothing is more important at VACCA than keeping our children, young people and families safe from family violence and other forms of harm.

If you or someone you know experiences family violence, we urge you to seek help by calling 000 or find out more here. Further information is available on the VACCA Family Violence Program page.

- Muriel Bamblett AO, VACCA CEO 

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