KILLINGS of Aboriginal women in remote parts of central Australia have jumped sharply in the past year, reaffirming the Red Centre's unwanted title as the nation's homicide capital.
On average, 1.3 out of 100,000 Australians die each year as a result of murder or manslaughter. But if you were an Aboriginal woman living in the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands, you would take no comfort from those figures.
One in 1200 people were killed in the NPY area last year. There are only 6000 people living in the 350,000sqkm region that covers parts of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Since May last year, five women who were NPY residents died after alleged violent attacks. In most cases, their husbands have been arrested and are in custody. At least 10 children have been orphaned by these events.
The recent spike in killings is demonstrated by the fact that between 1994 and 2006, a total of 10 women from the NPY region were homicide victims.
Several of the women were travelling off the NPY lands when they were killed. All were with their husbands at the time and in each case alcohol was allegedly involved.
Janie Norman, 29, from Mutitjulu, was allegedly killed by blunt-force injuries to the head after being assaulted with a rock at the Little Sisters town camp in Alice Springs. Her husband, Ronald Djana, who was on parole at the time of the alleged killing, has been committed for trial.
Doris Bennett, 25, from Tjukurla, was allegedly assaulted and died of exposure after being left in the elements overnight in the Karnte town camp of Alice, also in May last year. Her husband, Francis Martin, has been committed to face trial.
Diane Nelson, 44, died from blunt-force injuries to the head at Warakurna in December. Samuel Jackson has been charged.
Rebecca Hogan, 29, from Indulkana, was allegedly repeatedly punched then repeatedly struck with a saucepan, with rocks, a wheel rim and a wheel brace at Coober Pedy in March. Leon Curtis has been charged with murder.
Thelma Foster, 42, was allegedly struck four times to the head and body with a tree branch at Warburton in April. It is not certain if charges have been laid.
The NPY lands are defined as the vast bush area where the Aboriginal organisation, the NPY Women's Council, is active. The council monitors domestic violence and women's issues in the region which is only partly subject to the federal intervention in the Northern Territory.
No source was able to offer a definitive explanation for the surge in death. Alcohol appears to continue to infiltrate what are by law dry communities.
No names... aboriginal women from NT.
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