Mandatory jail sentences may lead to harmful outcomes

Women’s safety advocates concerns for victim-survivors remain warranted

As reported in today’s Advertiser, a young mother who, a judge says “could have left” the house before fatally stabbing her abusive partner has been jailed – as advocates speak out.

Susie Smith, Embolden Co-Chair, responds:

“Our thoughts are with Krystal Sue, her family, and all other victim-survivors of domestic and family violence who may be impacted by this outcome.

While we won’t comment on the specifics of this case, including the judge’s ruling, unfortunately it seems that our concerns back in 2014 remain warranted – that mandatory jail terms for certain violent offences, even when committed in the context of domestic violence survivors defending themselves from abuse, may lead to harmful unintended outcomes for those very same victims. We still have a long way to go in terms of community attitudes, and attitudes within our legal and justice systems, to adequately understand and respond to the complexities of domestic and family violence. There are many opportunities for legal reform and systemic change to improve safety for those experiencing gender-based abuses in South Australia, and this is clearly an area that would benefit from ongoing review and consultation with victim-survivors and the sectors that support them”