On Thursday the 04-10-12 a twenty-three-year-old Indian woman, Sargun Ragi, was stabbed to death and set on fire in her home in Kew. Her estranged husband, Avjit Singh, is believed to have killed her and who then died in the fire in a murder-suicide.

Ms Ragi had an intervention order against the assailant which he had breached several times in the weeks leading up to her murder. It is believed that the marriage was arranged in India and that the assailant had raped and beaten Ms Ragi in the months before her death.

Janene Evans, Victoria’s Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service, said that intervention orders only go so far and that there are offenders who consider an intervention order no more than a piece of paper.

Vasan Srinivasan, president of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, said that his association deals with cases of domestic violence and encourages women to come forward and report domestic abuse.

In September 2012 the Victorian Government announced tougher penalties for breaches of intervention orders, with a serious breaches leading to a maximum of five years incarceration.

Janene Evans said that she is unsure though how much of a deterrent tougher penalties will be as it remains to be seen how such will implemented.

Offenders must understand that if you are going to breach that intervention order, that there will be serious consequences, and that they police and justice system must ensure that such consequences are consistently implement.

In the last three years Victorian police figures show that nearly 12,000 crimes were committed while an intervention order was in place, including murder, attempted murder, rape and abductions.

Tim Cartwright, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner, said that getting a conviction for breaching an intervention order can be difficult. He said that “we see focusing on recidivist offenders of family violence as the key to reducing the numbers over the long term and this is exactly what we are doing.”

For victims of crime support and advice call 1800 000 055 or go to www.victimsofcrime.com.au

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