RE: Media reporting on Margaret River shooting

After the Margaret River shooting DV Vic wholeheartedly supports the call for more mental health services in rural areas and stronger work on dismantling the entrenched gender roles that teach troubled men to think there is shame in reaching out for help.

DV Vic is saddened by the tragic killing of two women and four children and Aaron Cockman, the four children’s father, has our deepest sympathy. We understand that he must still be in shock over the horrific murders and not yet able to process everything that happened.

The victims of this terrible crime are Cynda Miles, Katrina Miles, and the four children, Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Arye, 10, and Kadyn, 8. DV Vic joins the rest of Australia in mourning their loss and the future they all should have had.

DV Vic urges the media to exercise some caution in covering murder-suicides involving family members. Any implication that a man accused of murdering women or children is justified is not acceptable. It implicitly endorses the myth that men have some kind of ownership of the women and children in their family, a concept that dehumanises women and children and enables violent men to justify the violence they commit against the women in their family.

No media coverage should frame a man who has murdered women and children as a tragic hero. Implying that murder is justifiable or excusable because a man is suffering difficult life circumstances is a dangerous endorsement of the myths that put women and children’s lives in danger.

To keep women and children safe, the message that needs to be reinforced that it is never okay to harm or take the life of a woman or child.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows us that at least 75 percent of family violence related murders are committed by men.

We would also like to remind the media that any articles discussing suicide should always include helpline information, as per the Australian Press Council Standards. The new guidelines for reporting family violence also recommend  that any reports where family violence is identified should include contact information for 1800RESPECT.

Fiona McCormack
Chief Executive Officer, DV Vic
E: | T: (03) 9921 0828

Media reporting on Margaret River shooting (PDF)