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SA Domestic Violence rally at Parliament House amid week of murders

Appearing in The Advertiser (online 24th November 2023)

Author: Lauren Novak


Following a horror week in which four women were killed across South Australia, frontline workers fear family tensions and financial strain will only increase the rates of abuse and violence in the lead-up to Christmas. One service is so worried about the coming weeks that it is reopening a counselling hotline for men who want to change their behaviour before it is too late. And a friend of wife killer Kevin Jewell – the man who fatally shot Jodie Jewell before taking his own life – has pleaded with others to put aside their fears and open up to friends or experts if they are struggling. Jodie Jewell was shot dead by her husband in Modbury North on Tuesday night. Picture: Supplied Adam Williams knew Jewell for about 12 years but said he never mentioned anything that would indicate he was estranged from his wife or contemplating hurting her. “I’m sad that he didn’t, or felt like he couldn’t, reach out and speak to us,” Mr Williams, 41, told The Advertiser. “Yes it is awkward to start a conversation but the pain and suffering that is caused by something like this happening, from not talking about it, is far worse. “We need to do better at starting that conversation … at talking about how we’re feeling.” About 200 people gathered on the steps of Parliament House on Friday morning to observe a minute’s silence for the four women found dead in the past week, and to call for a royal commission into domestic violence in SA.


Embolden alliance spokeswoman Mary Leaker told the rally that “potentially this past week is the worst week for fatal domestic and family violence (in one jurisdiction) in Australia’s history”.

The Premier and senior government ministers have committed to meeting soon with sector leaders and will “consider” the call for a royal commission, which was first revealed in The Advertiser on Thursday.

Speaking at the rally, Leigh Garrett – who works with abusive men – called for more funding for counselling services.


Following a horror week in which four women were killed across South Australia, frontline workers fear family tensions and financial strain will only increase the rates of abuse and violence in the lead-up to Christmas.

One service is so worried about the coming weeks that it is reopening a counselling hotline for men who want to change their behaviour before it is too late.

And a friend of wife killer Kevin Jewell – the man who fatally shot Jodie Jewell before taking his own life – has pleaded with others to put aside their fears and open up to friends or experts if they are struggling.

Jodie Jewell was shot dead by her husband in Modbury North on Tuesday night. Picture: Supplied

Adam Williams knew Jewell for about 12 years but said he never mentioned anything that would indicate he was estranged from his wife or contemplating hurting her.

“I’m sad that he didn’t, or felt like he couldn’t, reach out and speak to us,” Mr Williams, 41, told The Advertiser.

“Yes it is awkward to start a conversation but the pain and suffering that is caused by something like this happening, from not talking about it, is far worse.

“We need to do better at starting that conversation … at talking about how we’re feeling.”

About 200 people gathered on the steps of Parliament House on Friday morning to observe a minute’s silence for the four women found dead in the past week, and to call for a royal commission into domestic violence in SA.

Frontline workers rally on the steps of SA’s Parliament House on Friday morning to raise awareness for domestic violence deaths after a shocking week. Picture: Dean Martin

Embolden alliance spokeswoman Mary Leaker told the rally that “potentially this past week is the worst week for fatal domestic and family violence (in one jurisdiction) in Australia’s history”.

The Premier and senior government ministers have committed to meeting soon with sector leaders and will “consider” the call for a royal commission, which was first revealed in The Advertiser on Thursday.

Speaking at the rally, Leigh Garrett – who works with abusive men – called for more funding for counselling services.

The Don’t Become That Man phone line, run by Mr Garrett’s organisation OARS Community Transitions, launched in mid-2020 and fielded more than 460 calls in 12 months.

However, government funding ran out in mid-2021 and a new tender awarded $1.2m over three years to No To Violence to operate a new Statewide Perpetrator Response Program.

Mr Garrett said the spate of deaths had prompted his organisation to rearrange its finances to revive its hotline.

“In the lead up to Christmas it is clear that domestic violence and other forms of violence escalate,” he said.

“We think this need is so critical there needs to be more access for men who are wanting help.”


SA Unions secretary Dale Beasley told the rally he was “filled with anger” by the deaths and that “toxic views and toxic cultures do exist” in the community.

He called on men to “stand up and take a stronger stance on this situation”.

SA Council of Social Services CEO Ross Womersley said it was critical to teach young men “that violence is not a solution to conflict”.

“Its not a way to treat partners that they might suggest they love,” he told the rally.


Working Women’s Centre director Abbey Kendall lashed the government for refusing to commit to a royal commission now.

“When our politicians come out and say they’re considering it, that it’s a possibility, that means there will be more delays … it means that more women will be murdered … and this cycle of violence will continue,” she told the crowd.

Greens co-leader Tammy Franks said her party supported a royal commission and would move a motion in parliament next when it resumes.



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