No to Violence’s Margaret River statement

In light of the Margaret River murder-suicide, No to Violence wish to express sympathy for the extended Miles family and the children’s father, Aaron Cockman.

The events that occurred on 11 May, 2018 were inexcusable and preventable.

Peter Miles murdered his wife, Cynda; daughter, Katrina; and grandchildren, Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Ayre, 10, and 8-year-old Kayden.

This type of violence cannot be confused with anything other than what it is, family violence. No to Violence is committed to continuing our work to end men’s use of family violence.

Since this event took place, many ‘prevention of violence against women’ agencies and advocacy bodies have called on the media to respond to this event accurately. In recent newspaper headlines we have noted that Peter Miles has been described as a ‘good bloke’; a description that is so ill-fitting given the circumstances.

We are calling on all media practitioners to report this crime for what it is, family violence. Our Watch has developed a useful guide to reporting on family violence here.

Simply, men who kill their families, in such a violent manner, are not ‘good blokes’. This narrative contributes to a social culture in which we look for reasons to justify men’s use of violence; only to look at what women could have done differently to minimise and avoid men’s use of violence. This is not good enough, and must change.

Family violence is physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, social, financial and spiritual. It happens within intimate partner relationships as well as between family members and is rarely an isolated incident. Family violence is predominantly perpetrated by men against women, children and other men.

No to Violence recognise the gendered nature of family violence and the evidence-base which demonstrates that family violence is most frequently used by men as a way to exercise power and control over women and children. This is due to a history of rigid gender stereotypes and unequal power structures.

Unmistakably, newsrooms, editors and journalists consciously and unconsciously fall into the trap of describing events which play into gender stereotypes; victim-blame; and most notably, minimise, justify and condone men’s use of violence against women and children. This must stop.

For 25 years No to Violence’s primary service arm, Men’s Referral Service, has provided assistance, information, counselling, and referrals to additional services, helping over 150,000 men get the support they need and improving outcomes for families.

No to Violence is qualified to state that one of the biggest barriers to men’s ability to take ownership of their violent behaviour and move toward real, meaningful change is a society which perpetually sympathises with their violent behaviour, and looks for reasons as to why it happened.

As a community, if we do not label and respond accordingly to this type of family violence, we will not end men’s use of family violence against women and children.

Our thoughts are with the extended Miles family, and the children’s father, Aaron Cockman.

No to Violence

Support services: If you or someone you know is concerned about their behaviour, please do not hesitate to call the Men’s Referral Service. To speak with a Men’s Referral Service phone counsellor, please call 1300 766 491 or head to ntv.org.au to chat online. If you are in immediate danger please call 000. If you have been impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse please call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.