Community gathers in Mount Druitt to mourn domestic violence victim Sarah Brown

Fifty metres from where a vigil for murder victim Sarah Brown was held, a sign hangs above Mount Druitt library.

‘Blacktown says no to domestic violence. Do you?’

The sign, which carries the number for Men’s Helpline, was a solemn reminder of the task faced by the community in stamping out the scourge that claimed Ms Brown’s life. 

Family, friends, police and politicians had gathered at Dawson Mall for a candle-lit vigil to mourn the woman who died in a “senseless act of violence” last month.

Ms Brown, 30, a mother of five and grandmother of one, died after being stabbed in the torso at her Whalan home on September 30. Her ex-partner has been charged with murder.

The crowd heard that she had been “tireless and courageous” in an attempt to escape domestic violence and create a safe place for her family.

But it was all in vain.

Ms Brown became the sixth person to be murdered by a family member in the Blacktown local government area since April 2015, one of those pregnant, and the fifth to have a council-led vigil held in her honour.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data shows Mount Druitt police responded to almost 1000 domestic violence reports between July 2016 and June 2017.

Sarah Brown was killed on September 30. Picture: Supplied

Sarah Brown was killed on September 30. Picture: Supplied

Josephine Rechichi, the coordinator at women’s support group WASH House, said on average one woman died at the hands of a family member every week in Australia.

“We hope we never have to be here again,” Ms Rechichi said

Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali urged domestic violence victims, and perpetrators, to reach out to services before they reached “breaking point”.

“There is never any excuse for domestic violence,” Cr Bali said.

“This is absolutely be in the situation of having another domestic violence death.

“As a community we need to stand shoulder to shoulder...and get the message out.”

The White Ribbon sign hanging above The Hub, Mount Druitt. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton

The White Ribbon sign hanging above The Hub, Mount Druitt. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton

Mount Druitt MP Edmond Atalla paid his condolences to Ms Brown’s family and friends: “we stand with you”.

“[Domestic violence] is a scourge on our society,” Mr Atalla said. “No one deserves to have their life cut short.

“As a new granddad myself, I always think about my grandchild and the milestones and birthdays...and to think about someone has been deprived of seeing all of those things unfold, it’s unacceptable.

“If it serves that one person among us here today...can reflect on the hurt felt today, and walk away, this vigil has served its purpose.”

The man charged with murdering Ms Brown, Russell Brian Wood, has been refused bail.

He will next face court in November.

Men’s Helpline, 1300 766 491.

1800Respect, 1800 737 732.

Lifeline, 13 11 14.


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