Hannah Clarke’s mum pleads for law change amid horror summer of DV cases

Hannah Clarke’s mum pleads for law change amid horror summer of DV cases

The mother of Hannah Clarke, who was killed along with her three young children when her estranged husband set fire to their car in Brisbane in 2020, has called for more law changes after a horrific summer of domestic violence cases.

“I can’t believe this is still happening. It shouldn’t be happening,” mum Sue Clarke told A Current Affair host Ally Langdon.

“It breaks our hearts every time we see this still going on.

A Current Affair hosts Ally Langdon and Sue Clarke. (A Current Affair)

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“No family should be put through this.”

Not all domestic abuse is physical and some can be difficult to identify.

Coercive control is a pattern of controlling and manipulative behavior within a relationship.

It usually involves manipulation and intimidation to scare and isolate a partner.

This may involve financial control, isolation from friends and family, monitoring of activities or the denial of freedom and autonomy.

Clarke said her daughter was a victim of coercive control and a consistent, nationwide approach to the laws around that is the most important next step in tackling domestic abuse.

Only two states have introduced them so far.

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Hannah Clarke with six-year-old Aaliyah, four-year-old Laianah and three-year-old Trey. (A Current Affair)

“Right now I think we need to change the laws, we need to bring in coercion as a stand-alone law,” Clarke said.

“Queensland is doing it, New South Wales is doing it, South Australia is talking about it.

“We need to get Victoria and Western Australia on board because we need to stop this.

“We need to get the police to stop this before we have these terrible things happening.”

The responsibility to stop domestic violence doesn’t just fall on the police, Clarke said.

“It’s everyone’s problem, it’s not just the police’s problem,” she said.

Hannah Clarke died with her three young children when her estranged husband set fire to their car in Brisbane in 2020. (A Current Affair)

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“We all have a neighbor or a friend who might see us go through this.

“We need to bring the perpetrators out, we need to call them out and say that ‘this is not how you treat someone’.”

“We also need to look at the victims and let them know that we hear them, they are empowered and we are there for them when they are ready to leave.”

Survivors told A Current Affair they feel the system is letting them down, especially when they are not given a say in the parole process.

This means survivors feel powerless, and Clarke said there is “nothing worse” than a survivor losing their voice in this process.

Sue Clarke. (A Current Affair)

“They must have a voice,” she said.

“At the moment it seems to be all for the perpetrator and not for the victim.

“We have to change that too.”

Clarke still has hope that there could be change for the better after a disturbing number of women were assaulted or killed over the summer.

“We don’t want one more family to go through what we did,” she said.

“It’s hard, it’s not getting easier, but it gives us hope that more and more people are talking about coercive control and more people understand it, so that gives us hope.”

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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

In an emergency, call 000.

The Men’s Referral Service is aimed at men who need help to stop violent or controlling behaviour, but it also supports victims and families. You can call 1300 766 491.

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