Last week in Canberra a one-week-old baby and her two brothers, aged nine and 11, had their mother snatched away from them when Tara Costigan, 28, was killed in a violent attack in her home. Her ex-partner Marcus Rappel has been charged with her murder and is accused of also seriously injuring two other people in the attack.
On Monday night in Queensland another mother and her seven-year-old son were shot dead. A third man also died in what police described as: "... two of the deaths are suspicious and the death of the man is non-suspicious.".
While we wring our collective hands at the spread of methamphetamine through our towns and cities, and a royal commission is finally picking the scab off the institutional sexual abuse of children, domestic violence continues to fester.
Already this year 14 other women are believed to have died at the hands of their partners or ex-partners. According to White Ribbon, which campaigns to stop violence against women, another will die next week, and the week after that, until a further 43 women have been killed by the end of 2015, going by last year's rate.
That some, if not most of those deaths could be prevented, should be an urgent call to action for our society.
Family violence affects all sectors of the community, including men, but women and children are disproportionately represented among the victims. It is often seen as a difficult problem to deal with that happens behind closed doors, but there are real, practical steps that governments can take to make women who are facing violence safer.
One of our most articulate spokeswomen on the issue, Australian of the Year and survivor of family violence Rosie Batty, cited a culture of victim blaming on Monday, one that places responsibility for action on those most at risk.
"We expect the victim to leave, become safe, have their life compromised, and then blame them for being in the relationship in the first place," she said.
In essence, we expect victims to walk away from their homes, cars, possesssions and support networks and go into hiding, rather than the purpetrator. This needs to be reversed.
Victims also find themselves forced to stay in dangerous, abusive situations, because of a range of issues, but mostly because of a lack of options. Often also the victims of financial abuse by their partners, there are too few options for them to escape to, with refuges often full, or facing cutbacks to their funding. There is often little pressure on their abusers to leave.
How does an abused mother keep food on the table, keep her children in school, and keep a roof over her family's heads when she is on the run? Court-imposed domestic violence orders are also failing to keep attackers away from their victims in many cases.
A Queensland special taskforce on domestic violence headed by former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce has recommended conditions that require the alleged violent partner to leave the home, rather than the victim. Victoria is also launching a royal commission that is trying to find practical policy changes that would better protect victims. These are both good places to start.
But there also needs to a realigning of priorities at the national level, and an end to the cost cutting that has led to shelters being unable to handle demand, and support services struggling to cope.
If we can find substantial funds as a nation to meet our international obligations against terrorism, we must also be able to find further support for terror at home, a problem that leaves one in six women over the age of 15 the victim of physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government made an inspired decision to highlight these issues by naming Rosie Batty Australian of the Year. She has already done a tremendous service to the country through her dignified advocacy of greater focus on family violence issues. The government must now make good on that work by committing to some of the sensible and practical ideas being proposed by Ms Batty and others, such as increasing funding to community legal services and emergency relief grants that support victims of domestic violence.
There will be good advice coming out of Queensland, Victoria, and other parts of the country, that we can build on as a nation. It will be a tragedy if those 43 women expected to die by the end of the year cannot be helped. There are simple, practical measures that can be taken to help keep them safe.