Speeches | June 19, 2018

Condolences - Eurydice Dixon

Victorian Parliament - 19 June 18 - Ms KEALY - Last night I stood with 10 000 Victorians in Princes Park with my parliamentary colleagues — the member for Euroa, Georgie Crozier and Ed O’Donohue in the other place — to mark the senseless and horrific rape and murder of 22‑year‑old Eurydice Dixon. Women and men, young and old, people who have lived in the area their entire life and country students from nearby colleges — we all stood in silence to mourn the loss of Eurydice. We remembered a vibrant young woman, a comedian with a wry sense of the ridiculousness of life, a woman who had aspirations to take her comedy to the UK, a woman who had an interest in childcare studies and children, a woman who was raped and murdered while simply walking home from work — a comedy gig in the city.

As I studied the faces around me at Princes Park, I saw people stony‑faced, some emotional, some angry, some with a tear rolling down their cheek, others looking strong and defiant. Like others I was drawn into thoughts of myself walking home alone, at any hour, in any location, and wondering, ‘What if the next person being remembered at a candlelight vigil was me, my family member, my friend, my colleague?’.

As Victorians we have an expectation of community safety. We believe we should all be able to walk home safely. This is not unreasonable, as many people do it every single day. But sadly here we are in Victoria with another woman senselessly raped and murdered. This is a story that Victorians are tired of hearing, and we want action.

I remember other women who were recently senselessly raped and murdered by serious sex offenders — people they did not know. Karen Chetcuti was taken from her home in Whorouly in country Victoria — raped and murdered. Jill Meagher was taken while walking home in Brunswick — raped and murdered. Masa Vukotic was taken while walking through a park in Balwyn North — raped and murdered. For these women and other nameless women who have been lost to rape and murder without knowing their attacker, without taking high‑risk actions, without logic, we need to do more than just installing more CCTV cameras in the city. None of these cameras would have saved Eurydice or prevented any of the other recent rapes and murders of women across Victoria. Our community must not just feel safe; we must be safe.

There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who commits a hideous rape and murder has significant mental illness as a serious sex offender. This is not to say that they should receive any leniency in sentencing. Far from it. The penalty for raping and murdering an innocent woman should be harsh and strong, with no soft‑touch approach of bail or cutting deals for a short sentence or hiding behind illness of any kind.

The reality is that our mental health system is underfunded and sluggish and slow to respond. It is under‑resourced, and funding cuts in recent years have just increased the pressure. We are getting worse at identifying people with mental illness when they are young to provide intervention and support so that they do not harm themselves or others. We have a responsibility to do more, to be proactive in identifying and stopping serious sex offenders before they rape and murder, to not just look at the feel‑good measures but to address the real issues.

While we do not know who the next person will be who commits a vile act of rape and murder in this state, we must do more to identify and stop them before they offend and another life is needlessly and tragically lost in the most vile and horrific way, because Victorians do deserve to be able to walk home without fear of assault or bashing or rape or murder. We all deserve to live in a safe community. Eurydice deserved that too, but the Victorian system failed her in the worst possible way.

I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, partner and friends of Eurydice Dixon. May she rest in peace.


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