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How the justice system fails victims of domestic violence

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Article image for How the justice system fails victims of domestic violence

Violence against women activist Tarang Chawla told 3AW’s Nick McCallum he feels “shame” and “despair” following Borce Ristevski’s sentence today for killing his wife Karen.

Borce was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to nine years in prison, with a non-parole period of 6 years.

Mr Chawala said the message the sentencing sends to the community is discouraging.

“The criminal justice system is there to serve the community and I feel that the community has been let down today,” he said.

“How are people going to come forward and seek support when this is the message that’s being sent by the criminal justice system? That a woman’s life is worth a minimum of six years.

“Powerful men in wigs are ultimately standing up for the rights of perpetrators over victims,” he said.

But Mr Chawla said blame for the failures of the legal system does not sit squarely with judges.

“It’s not just about judges here, it’s about politicians and our elected officials actually doing what they need to do to keep families safe and together.”

He called for an overhaul of the legislative system judges works within, and a change in the conduct of the Office of Public Prosecutions.

“A lot of people’s hands are tied, but the legislative framework that they’re working within is clearly in need of overhaul.”

Mr Chawla became a vocal activist against men’s violence after his 23-year-old sister was killed by her male partner in 2015.

He had a message to Karen Ristevski’s loved ones.

“Know that many people are appalled, not only by this decision but by the act that this man took to take beloved Karen’s life, and that she didn’t deserve what happened. Clearly the system failed not only in the response to the taking of her life, but the fact that she could be killed in what is a civilised country like Australia.”

Press PLAY below to hear what Tarang Chalwa had to say to 3AW’s Nick McCallum.

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