I couldn’t say it any better than these guys have:
Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia [F.A.C.A.A]
Luke Batty was 11 years old. His friends and family describe him as funny, intelligent, and just generally an all-round great kid. He was in year 6 at school, loved to play sport, and had a bright future ahead of him.
Last night, Luke asked his mother if he could spend an extra few minutes playing with his dad, Greg, after cricket practice where he had come to see him, and they went out to play on the field.
Then in a tragedy that has left most of us speechless, Luke’s young life was cut callously short at the hands of his own father.
This ‘father’ then left police with no option but to shoot him; this is known as ‘suicide by police’, and it means that he will never suffer the pain, the guilt, and the shame of what he has done.
We know very little of the events leading up to this horrific crime, but we do know that there was a history of family violence, and that Luke’s father was subject to an order preventing him from visiting the family home. Despite these issues, Luke both loved and trusted his father, and enjoyed spending time with him.
Greg was not perceived to be a risk to his child, only to the child’s mother, but as we know all too well, violence against one parent by the other IS violence against the child.
No doubt there will be many who try to ‘soften’ the father’s position with excuses for his anger. As is almost always the case, people will cry of his desperation and depression, but let me make this very clear – the background is completely irrelevant.
There is never, ever, any justification for a parent to take the life of their child. No amount of anger, no amount of pain, depression, frustration, or loss, is ever, ever enough to ‘explain’ the actions of such a person. There are no ‘mitigating factors’.
It is the very lowest act of betrayal.
Even if a person was themselves a victim of trauma or abuse, that does not give them license to harm another person; we are all responsible to do the work it takes to heal.
I have been close enough to our mental health system to tell you that it is woefully inadequate, but help is available if you keep trying, and if it matters enough you will find a way, not an excuse.
As a society, we need to show our condemnation of violence, particularly against children. Each and every one of us needs to stand up and scream that enough is enough. We need to stop making excuses for violence, threats, and intimidation, and start holding people accountable.
We need to realise that ‘nice’ does not equal ‘good’, and that even though a person might be a great employee, friend, or relative, that does not exclude them from being an abuser.
The mental health system must be better resourced, and held to higher standards of care; the same could be said for child protection.
The family court needs to err on the side of caution, not political correctness, and recognise domestic violence as a child abuse issue – even when the victim does not. Sometimes it takes a victim of family violence years to hold the perpetrator responsible for their actions, and the safety of the children has to be our first priority.
This is not television – good, loving parents do not get ‘pushed’ into acts of violence that they were not already likely to commit.
Despite what the perpetrator might say, or even think, it is never about love; it is always about control.
To young Luke’s family and friends we extend our deepest sympathy, and pray that you are surrounded by the love and support of the people closest to you.