Murdered woman's mum welcomes new plan to fight violence

A PIALBA mother whose daughter was murdered says she hopes the State Government's new $31 million plan to tackle domestic violence will help save the lives of other women.

Ligita Sternbergs' daughter Ingrid Lester, 35, was stabbed to death in her Hervey Bay home in November, 2002, after her husband Jim Lester paid family friend Michael John Kinsella $10,000 to kill her.

The announcement of the plan, made by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman, comes in the wake of Australian Regional Media's Terror At Home campaign, which has lobbied for the introduction of specialist domestic violence courts and mandatory healthy relationships programs in schools.

Ms Palaszczuk accepted a petition with 2500 signatures from ARM in May after the extensive campaign throughout the company's 12 daily and more than 50 non-daily newspapers, including this publication.

Ligita Sternberg with a portrait of her daughter Ingrid Lester. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Ligita Sternberg with a portrait of her daughter Ingrid Lester. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

HELP WHEN IT'S NEEDED: Ligita Sternbergs with a portrait of her daughter.

As part of the plan, a domestic violence court will be trialled at Southport, where the court already faces up to 50 domestic violence matters daily. The court trial will start in September and be reviewed after six months.

Other government initiatives include establishing an independent Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit and $1.1 million to expand the domestic violence duty lawyer service at Legal Aid Queensland.

The government will also establish dedicated 72-hour crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville and $3 million for a national campaign to reduce violence against women and children.

DVConnect chief Diane Mangan said it was very important to find immediate accommodation for those fleeing domestic violence.

The announcement was part of the government's response to former Governor-General Quentin Bryce's Not Now, Not Ever taskforce report into domestic and family violence released four months ago.

The report, commissioned by the Newman government, revealed on average 180 domestic violence incidents a day across Queensland.

Ms Bryce made 140 recommendations to stem the violence through implementing long-term systemic and cultural change, including the introduction of respectful relationships programs in all schools.

Ms Palaszczuk did not indicate whether the school programs would be implemented, but said the government would soon release its full response to the report.

The issue has also been in the spotlight since domestic violence victim campaigner Rosie Batty was awarded the 2015 Australian of the Year.

Ms Sternbergs, who supported the Terror At Home campaign, said the most important thing was to assist women who were the victims of abuse in getting help if they needed it.

"If the money can be used to help them and protect them, then that will be great."

Changing attitudes and increasing awareness in the community was also important Ms Sternbergs said, adding that she hoped education programs would be eventually made available through schools.

- with APN NEWSDESK

GET HELP

If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault or family violence, phone 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800respect.org.au. In an emergency, phone 000.



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