Bedford deaths: WA Premier prepared to look at crisis talks as mass killing described as a wake-up call

Floral tribute outside the home of the Bedford tragedy. Picture: David Baylis d486705
Floral tribute outside the home of the Bedford tragedy. Picture: David Baylis d486705

PREMIER Mark McGowan hasn’t ruled out inter-agency crisis talks following this week’s Bedford tragedy.

He was responding on ABC Radio to a call for talks from the chief executive of the WA Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services.

Angela Hartwig also described the latest incident as a wake-up call after the family shootings near Margaret River and the three deaths in Ellenbrook earlier this year.

“It’s certainly something (crisis talks) we can consider,” Mr McGowan said.

“Obviously two of these incidents are before the courts…

“But having a strong proactive approach to any incidents of domestic violence and making sure as a State we do everything we can to prevent it is very important.”

He was asked if he was happy with the level of funding to family violence and mental support services in WA.

“We do provide enormous support both to the Mental Health Commission and a whole range of initiatives when it comes to domestic violence,” he said.

“In fact, we are trying to change the law currently to allow victims of domestic violence to be able to get out of tenancies whereby they might be stuck at a house with a perpetrator.

“In a perfect world you’d love to have more but we do fund these services pretty well.

“We’re putting in place additional domestic violence refuges for women and additional breathing space facilities for men who might be involved in incidents of domestic violence where they’re the perpetrators.

“All of us need to call it out and we all need to be vigilant about any cases of domestic violence.

“Once when I was a boy these sorts of things weren’t called out…and we need to do everything we can as a family, as a community as a Government to make sure we prevent it as much as humanly possible.”

Speaking in general about the number of domestic violence deaths in WA this year, he said “they don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason”.

“So planning or trying to prevent these things is not an easy thing to do,” he said.

“All you can say – and this is in a general sense rather than specifically towards these events – is anyone who has any negative thoughts or feelings there are services out there for you.

“I urge anyone feeling any sort of distress or anything of that nature to make sure you seek help.”

Support services for anyone who may require help:

Crisis Care Helpline 1800 199 008 (24/7)

Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788 (Metro) or 1800 676 822 (Peel)

Rurallink 1800 552 002

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyondblue 1300 224 636