RE: Joy Rowley Coroners Court Inquest

Joy Rowley’s murder was a horrific crime and should never have happened. As much as we wish this inquest wasn’t necessary we are keen to hear the Coroner’s recommendations on how women like Joy can be better protected in the future.

We’ve achieved so much in the last few years but The Royal Commission into Family Violence was the start not the end of that process. We cannot be complacent while so many women and children are still in danger.

We also need to remember the underlying causes of men’s violence against women. Men who think they are entitled to take women’s lives and bodies as their own need to understand they are wrong. There is never an excuse for violence and every woman at risk of being abused must be taken seriously.

We’re very pleased to hear the police are working on the systemic issues that used to get in the way of a proper response to women and children at risk of violent men. We know they have made huge changes in how they deal with this issue, but women and children are still being killed. Thousands of women are still being assaulted every week. We need to focus on cultural change, not only in Victoria Police and the justice system, we need permanent community-wide change.

Fiona McCormack


DV Vic extends heartfelt sympathy to Jo Rowley’s family, who have worked so tirelessly to make this inquest happen. We support their efforts to engage the public in discussion about family violence and the efforts we need to make to keep all women and children safe.

This is the full text of the statement Jo Rowley’s family released today:

After fighting for almost five years, we have finally had the opportunity to have our mother Joy Rowley’s voice heard.

We hope our family’s tireless efforts and this inquest will ensure other families living with domestic violence are taken seriously and that perpetrators are held accountable, because domestic violence is a crime.

We are grateful for Assistant Commissioner Dean McWhirter’s genuine apology to our family albeit it was bittersweet for our family.

We are relieved to hear it is acknowledged our mother was left unprotected but are extremely sad to know that after surviving a serious near-death attack, our mother had a second chance at life which was passed by because of numerous police failures. 

Our concerns were validated when we heard police policies and procedures were not followed and there were no consequences for the lack of adherence. We ask, what is the point in these policies and procedures if there is no accountability leaving people like our mother vulnerable and feeling unheard?

We don’t want our mother’s death to be in vain and hope this inquest will help drive the systemic, cultural and attitudinal change needed in our community and Victoria Police to prevent domestic violence.

We need to treat domestic violence as the widespread, insidious crime that it is so that victims and their families know they are not alone and they do have a voice.