Updated: Aug 22
For a state to be so out of touch with the realities of domestic violence is beyond concerning. The case of Tina Greer’s death is just one example of how the state of Queensland refuses to take accountability or interest in protecting victims of intimate partner violence. Tina Greer, 32, went missing in 2012. In may 2022, the coroner accepted the police theory that Tina was, in fact, a victim of domestic violence and consequently, murdered by her partner.
Even though her body is missing, no one has been convicted, and the main suspect was never interviewed, the Coroner has denied my request for an inquest. Perhaps I wouldn’t be writing this if the Corner's Court of Queensland understood and acknowledged the nature of domestic violence. However, as I will reveal, the sheer level of ignorance displayed is truely shocking. Below are my arguments as to why Tina Greer deserves an inquest and to draw attention to the inadequacy and oversight of the Corner's Court of Queensland.
Domestic Violence & Public Interest
Reasons for a coroner to hold an inquest in the public interest. 1. An inquest is likely to help explain the cause of death. 2. There are unresolved suspicious circumstances. 3. Publicity through inquest may help to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances.
"I am obliged to consider the public benefit of an inquest proceeding.I am unable to see one [public benefit] here based upon the current state of the evidence" - QlD Coroner
Statistically and academically, there is no doubt that domestic violence, specifically intimate partner homicide, is cause for public interest. In Australia, intimate partner homicide is the most common form of homicide. In 2018-19 these offences accounted for 21 per cent of all homicides and 62 per cent of all domestic homicides (ANROWS 2022). Notably, in Queensland, from 2006-2018, 265 women, men and children were killed by a family member or as a result of an intimate partner relationship (DFVDRU 2018). Domestic violence has affected over 5.8 Million Australians, with 2.2 million having experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner and 3.6 million have experienced emotional abuse from a partner (ABS 2020). In December 2021 alone, 1800RESPECT (domestic support line) received over 27,200 calls (SBS 2021). Despite all of the evidence, the coroner refuses to see how publicity through an inquest would generate awareness and help prevent future deaths in similar circumstances. Tina's case is a play-for-play example of how physical, emotional and financial abusive play out.
Overwhelming, the tone of the refusal for an inquest letter I received was unsympathetic and blamed Tina for her circumstances. In light of receiving such a response lacking in awareness, the concept of victim blaming seems fitting. Victim blaming is a degrading act that occurs when the victim(s) of a crime is held responsible (partially or fully) for the crimes that have been committed against them (Andrew et al. 2003). Victim blaming emerges as a negative social response in legal, medical, health and social settings (CRCVC 2009). Despite the DFVDRU Review of Tina's case, which highlights that the police contact in this matter represents a significant missed opportunity for intervention.
Failure to thoroughly investigate matters and pursue criminal charges where appropriate.
No evidence of any additional steps being taken to protect Tina from further harm despite the officer's assessment that it was likely she had and would experience violence in the relationship.
Evidence of poor policing attitudes towards victims of domestic and family violence which may have influenced their response.
The Coroner refuses to consider a that Tina's death could have been prevented.
"A different outcome for your mother would not have been achieved if she had had more information or support about Domestic and Family Violence." - QlD Coroner "Although she had left Mr Sharman, Tina continued to feel the need to associate or have contact with Mr Sharman. Whatever the reason her continued contact put her at risk, even when she had managed to move away from him." -QlD Coroner
As seen above, the coroner not only refuses to acknowledge the importance of intimate partner violence prevention but also proceeds to blame Tina for her death. Attitudes towards domestic violence are important to understand how people react or behave towards victims and perpetrators of these aggressions (Graciá et al. 2009). As Dr Boxall states, although the "pathways leading to homicide are complex and vary, there were several points at which it is possible to intervene and stop these trajectories" (2022). Alarmingly, you would think awareness and reflection would be a priority in a state with one of the highest prevalences of IPV and homicide (ABS 2020). BUT no, let's continue to shift blame and perpetuate toxic views from one of the most influential positions in the state. We wonder why 60-70% per cent of domestic and family violence is never reported to police (Scott 2021; Bgurm & Barchbank 2021).
In actuality the reasons Tina and many others continue to have contact with their abusers is complex and deserves attention, rather than blame. Why people don't leave 1. Fear of repercussions; stalking, increased physical violence, and homicide 2. Homeless 3. Financial insecurity 4. Social and cultural expectations 5. Believing that the abuse is their fault 6. Lack of emotional support 7. Embarrassment 8. Denial (Eckstein 2011) In actuality, a week after she and I moved into separate accommodation, our house was stalked. Pot plants smashed on the veranda, doors and windows shaken. I vividly remember crawling down the halfway about to wet myself because I could hear someone outside the bathroom. He damaged our front door because we didn't hear him knocking. When he came next, he tried dragging her down the hallway, yelling, "get in the room, Tina". I held her free hand and didn't let go, "get the f#ck off her", he said bluntly, grabbing me by the arm. A couple of weeks later, her car was vandalised during the night. He would call continuously, threatening to kill her if she didn't answer him, and the list goes on. So why did Tina maintain contact with him? To put it simply, out of protection for herself and her family. To argue otherwise is simply incorrect. Furthermore, numerous studies have affirmed that women who have separated from their partners are at higher risk of homicide victimisation by intimate partners than women in current relationships (Hotton 2001; Wilson & Daly 1993; Johnson & Hotton 2003; Wallace 1986; Barnard et al. 1982).
As a nation, Australia is currently drafting the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032. Some key points include;
Long-term bipartisan investment by all governments across prevention, intervention, response and recovery.
Listening, engaging and being informed by diverse lived experiences, particularly those of victim-survivors.
Training and workforce development across support across sectors such as the police, justice systems and frontline services.
Improving the justice system to ensure people impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence can achieve justice, and people using violence and abuse are held to account.
With these points in mind, it is clear that Tina's case is in the public interest as well as in the best interest of the Coroners Court. Not only would holding an inquest for Tina help prevent future deaths from occurring, but it would also raise awareness and educate the public and the coroner's Court about the complexities of Domestic Violence. Without Coronial support, the State sets a poor precedent for past, present and future victims of domestic violence. It's time to stop promoting a culture of ignorance, gaslighting and victim-blaming. It is time to listen to the experts and accept the realities of domestic violence.
References AAP, SBS 2021, Almost 1,500 calls a month to Australia's domestic violence support line have been going unanswered, SBS, viewed 28th June 2022, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/almost-1-500-calls-a-month-to-australias-domestic-violence-support-line-have-been-going-unanswered/9n6iq2cd3 ANROWS 2022, Two new reports contribute invaluable data to what we know about intimate partner homicide in Australia, Viewed 29 June 2022, https://www.anrows.org.au/media-releases/two-new-reports-contribute-invaluable-data-to-what-we-know-about-intimate-partner-homicide-in-australia/ Australian Institute of Family Studies, Draft National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032 Released for public Comment, Australian Government, Viewed 28 June 2022, https://engage.dss.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Draft-National-Plan-to-End-Violence-against-Women-and-Children-2022-32.pdf Cussen, T & Bryant, W 2015, Domestic/family homicide in Australia. Research in practice no. 38. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/rip/rip38 Eckstein, J.J 2011, Reasons for staying in intimately violent relationships: Comparisons of men and women and messages communicated to self and others, Journal Of family violence, Vol.26, No.1, pp. 21-30. Gracia, E, García, F., & Lila, M 2009, Public responses to intimate partner violence against women: The influence of perceived severity and personal responsibility, The Spanish Journal of Psychology, vol.12, pp. 648-656. Gurm, A, Salgado G, Marchbank, J, & Early S 2020,’Making Sense of a Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together Towards a Violence Free Society’, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Lerner, M. J., & Miller, D. T 1978, Just world research and the attribution process: Looking back and ahead. Psychological Bulletin, vol.85, pp. 1030-1051. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.85.5.1030 Mouzos, J, Rushforth C, 2003, Family homicide in Australia. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 255. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi255 Scott, K 2021, Why victim-survivors don't report domestic violence, ABC, Viewed 28 June 2022, https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/reasons-why-victim-survivors-dont-report-domestic-violence/100035002