Case that shocked a magistrate who thought he'd seen it all
MAGISTRATE Colin Strofield thought he had seen it all.
He thought he was unshockable.
Then a 14-year-old girl came through his specialist domestic and family violence court in the Gold Coast last week, after her 16-year-old boyfriend had attempted to "run her through" with a metre long sword he had concealed in his pants and taken to school - all because she broke up with him.
This shocking story was told to a room full of Central Queensland's elite on Friday night, at Rockhampton's White Ribbon fundraising event.
"Things can be done. Things are being done. So long as everyone is together in this," Mr Strofield said.
"It is 180 degrees now... the way people are dealing with domestic violence has changed dramatically.
"There is no such thing as 'just a private fight', there is no such thing as 'just a domestic'.
"Not now, not ever, no more. Rosie Batty and Quentin Bryce have turned on a light in a very dark place and we should never, ever turn that light off."
Mr Strofield said change was finally happening thanks to the continuing efforts of governments and various organisations, but there was still progress to be made.
And the statistics haven't improved.
Over 12 months, on average, one woman is still killed every week by a current or former partner.
Domestic and family violence is still the principal case of homelessness for women and their children.
But attitudes have changed, said Mr Strofield, we just have to keep pushing.
"It is not a private fight any more," he said.
"If someone was to assault another person on the footpath of this establishment tonight... it would at least an assault, or a bodily harm.
"Why isn't it an assault of it is inside the dwelling? Why should it be, that just because the front door is closed, why shouldn't we do something about that?"
These words, alongside those of Capricornia Police District officer Supt Ron Van Saane and local ZONTA Group president Judy Petit, seemed to carry a lot of weight on Friday night.
Over $14,000 was raised in that one evening, from the generosity of over 95 people.
The funds will be shared between the White Ribbon Organisation, the Rockhampton Women's Shelter, and the Love Bites youth education program.