New voice for women, children lost to violence
Australian women and children lost to murder, manslaughter, neglect and other unimaginable acts of violence will have their stories heard in a world first online memorial.
The Red Heart Campaign is launching the Memorial to Women and Children Lost to Violence on Tuesday, on the eve of International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The project aims to provide a special place for family and friends to remember their loved ones while also creating a publicly-accessible database of murders and manslaughters in Australia.
The Red Heart Campaign founder, journalist and activist Sherele Moody, said behind each red heart on the memorial was systemic failure to protect women and children from violence.
The memorial launch also marks the 58th anniversary of five-year-old Sandra Dorothy Bacon's abduction, rape and murder in Townsville and commemorates 30 years since the abduction, rape and murder of nine-year-old Stacey-Ann Tracy in Roma.
Both girls were killed by Barry Gordan Hadlow, who was the stepfather of Ms Moody.
Ms Moody said Sandra and Stacey-Ann were the inspiration behind the memorial, and it was their memories that drove her to spend the past five years researching and documenting the killing of women and children.
"As a child I was subject to years of violent abuse and at 18 was horrified to find my stepfather had raped and murdered two little girls," she said.
"Behind each heart on the memorial, small for children and large for women, is a system that has failed victims, and this is my step towards creating a better future for us."
The memorial currently holds the stories of more than 2200 victims of violence, including those lost to intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual violence, stranger violence and associate violence.
Victims are documented regardless of alleged perpetrator gender or relationship between the victim and their alleged killer.
The first story documented on the ongoing, journalism-based memorial is that of a young woman murdered by her partner in 1859.
One of the most recent is Lisa Hund, who was stabbed in her home on October 30.
"The memorial shows that violence impacts women and children from all walks of life - this is happening week in, week out and the reality is the next victim could be someone you know - your next-door neighbour, the local barista, your doctor, your sister - anyone," Ms Moody said.
"Women and children have a right to feel safe at home, at work and on the streets - and this is just not the case.
"As a nation, we have a long way to go to prevent violence against women and children.
"I hope the rawness of stories featured on the memorial inspires more complex support systems - for current victims and loved ones left behind."
The launch of the Memorial to Women and Children Lost to Violence will be hosted by Queensland media icon Kay McGrath and feature special presentations from Ms Moody, podcaster Paula Doneman as well as brave accounts from loved ones of those lost.
For more information and to view the memorial, visit theredheartcampaign.org.
If you are experiencing intimate partner violence, family violence or sexual violence, please contact the national helpline on 1800 RESPECT. Mensline can be contacted via 1300 78 99 78 and Lifeline is available on 13 11 14.