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Domestic abuse worker pleas for action after children killed in Sydney

Three weeks after a father gunned his teenage children down in cold blood, a domestic violence worker has pleaded for people to open their eyes to the issue.

Aileen Mountfield, executive director of Sydney-based Lisa Harnum Foundation said her appeals for state and federal government funding had gone ignored. 

‘It happens everywhere. People tend to think we live in a quiet, leafy area and domestic violence doesn’t exist,’ Ms Mountfield said. 

Aileen Mountfield, pictured, says that people ignore domestic violence in wealthy areas

Ms Mountfield told The Daily Telegraph her pleas were ignored in large part because statistics aren’t demonstrative to the problem.

She said one reason was because most incidents involved emotional abuse, which is harder to report compared with physical incidents.

‘I think because the statistics aren’t high, and they would go by the statistics, it’s very hard to go by emotional abuse.’ 

The call for more funding was reiterated after John Edwards, 68, a financial planner, killed his children before turning the gun on himself at West Pennant Hills earlier this month. 

Police said the domestic murders were ‘targeted’ and came amid a two-year custody battle between Edwards and his wife. 

Edwards, 67, gunned down Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, at their West Pennant Hills home in Sydney's north-west

Edwards, 67, gunned down Jack, 15, and Jennifer, 13, at their West Pennant Hills home in Sydney’s north-west

Schoolmates of Jack and Jennifer received a touching letter in the wake of the murders

Schoolmates of Jack and Jennifer received a touching letter in the wake of the murders

At least two out of five assaults reported in 2017 were family and domestic violence-related, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The government allocated $54.4 million to combat domestic violence in the 2018 federal budget. 

Despite this, Ms Mountfield said more needed to be done. 

She said 34 women have been killed as a result of domestic violence in Australia so far this year.

‘People don’t understand the magnitude of the issue,’ she said.

‘If 34 people died from a shark attack there would be a huge outcry.’

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk