House debates

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Statements by Members

Hafiz, Ms Sabah, Domestic and Family Violence

1:36 pm

Photo of Julie OwensJulie Owens (Parramatta, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Sabah Hafiz was a young woman with her life ahead of her. She was 23 years old. On 14 October, she was murdered in her Wentworthville home, and her husband has been charged with her murder. According to the organisation Impact for Women, Hafiz was the 45th woman in Australia this year to be murdered. That number has increased to 47 since 14 October, and 40 of those murders are related to family and domestic violence.

Last night, Shakti Australia held an online vigil for Sabah. They wanted to remember the beautiful life she lived and to ensure her life did not go in vain. Shakti are a great organisation. They're a not-for-profit that were established by and for migrant women in New Zealand in 1995. They expanded to Australia in 2011 and New South Wales in 2012. They do amazing work, providing a specialist domestic crisis intervention service for women from African, Middle Eastern and Asian migrant communities.

There are very few specialist services for migrant women who often experience culturally sanctioned abuse. Shakti says COVID-19 has made migrant women like Sabah more isolated and vulnerable to domestic violence. It's been called 'the other pandemic', with a recent survey of specialists at 34 community services across New South Wales finding rising rates of women experiencing domestic violence since the onset of the pandemic, with 85 per cent recording an increase in complexity. We need to do much more. My condolences to Sabah's family and friends.