ACT News

Two survivors of Calwell attack are 'recovering well', family say

Two survivors of the attack that allegedly killed Tara Costigan are "recovering well", their family says.

Ms Costigan, 28, was attacked with an axe and died at a home in Calwell last month, and her death has helped fuel a national debate on the prevention of domestic violence and the adequacy of protections for women.

Tara Costigan, 28, who died late last month
Tara Costigan, 28, who died late last month Photo: Supplied

Her former partner, Marcus Rappel, 40, is accused of Ms Costigan's murder, and is currently behind bars at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. 

Rappel is accused of injuring two others when he forced his way into the home on the afternoon of Saturday February 28. 

Marcus Rappel, who has been accused of the murder of his former partner Tara Costigan.
Marcus Rappel, who has been accused of the murder of his former partner Tara Costigan.  Photo: Facebook

One of those was Ms Costigan's sister, who suffered grievous injuries. 

The Costigan family say she has had surgery on her hand, and was discharged from hospital late last week. 


Her partner also suffered head injuries, for which Rappel is facing an assault charge.

Nathan Costigan, speaking on behalf of the family, says the pair are both now recovering well from their injuries. 

"They have a supportive family ensuring they get looked after," Mr Costigan said.

"Tara's sister was very close to her and she is as selfless as Tara, always asking how the kids are and ensuring they are OK."

Ms Costigan had given birth just a week before her death and had two young sons, aged nine and 11.

Rappel is due back in court this month, and is facing charges of murder, recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and breaching a domestic violence order. 

The court order he is accused of breaching was taken out by Ms Costigan one day before her death. 

On Monday, data was published showing demand for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service has increased markedly in recent years. 

The total number of contacts has increased by about 40 per cent in five years, while the number of crisis visits it attends doubled between 2011-12 and 2013-14. 

Despite that, its funding from the ACT government has remained the same for five years. 

YWCA Canberra has also called for ACT government funding for its primary school-based awareness program, designed to prevent domestic violence in the longer term. 

Last week, Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek and Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann both spoke of Ms Costigan's death and called their colleagues to action in federal Parliament on domestic violence.

Ms Plibersek said last week the system had failed Ms Costigan. 

"Tara hoped that the provisions of the law and the resources of her government would protect her," she said.

"They did not."