‘Brutal truth’ after deaths rocked city

Family, friends and the wider Ballarat community rallied against men’s violence last week after the deaths of Ballarat women Hannah McGuire, Rebecca Young and Samantha Murphy. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

Following the deaths of three Ballarat women allegedly killed by men in the space of two months the state government has directed emergency funds to the region for anti-gendered violence measures.

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Vicki Ward has directed $250,000 to the Ballarat City Council for a new awareness campaign and to engage with local businesses, community groups and male leaders on how to address the attitudes some men hold.

“This recent violent loss of the lives of Rebecca, Samantha and Hannah in Ballarat highlight a brutal truth – that too many Victorian women aren’t safe in their own community. This is not OK,” Ms Ward said.

The Ballarat community voiced its pain and anger on Friday last week as more than 1000 people rallied through the city for an anti-gendered violence demonstration.

The anti-men’s violence rally flooded the city centre. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

Mother Samantha Murphy, 51, was last seen going for a jog on February 4.

Partick Orren Stephenson, 22, has been charged with her murder. Searches for Ms Murphy’s body resumed last week.

On February 16, mother Rebecca Young was killed by her partner in a suspected murder suicide.

On April 5, police found the body of 23-year-old Hannah McGuire in a burnt-out car to the southwest of Ballarat.

The three deaths in quick succession have rocked Ballarat. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

Ms McGuire’s former boyfriend, Lachlan Young, 21, has been charged with murder.

Ms Ward said the funding would deliver outcomes on the ground.

“This grant will deliver local initiatives addressing family violence, violence against women and importantly, engage men in this conversation, helping to ensure the women of Ballarat are safe in their own community and homes,” Ms Ward said.

About 1000 people attended the rally. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

State Wendouree MP Juliana Addison said the funding was vital to “make the women of Ballarat feel safer”.

“The Ballarat community has rallied together after the recent deaths of local women and expressed their wish that all women live safely here and across Victoria,” Ms Addison said.