State Coroner heeds community legal centre recommendations in Sargun Ragi inquest findings

October 30, 2015 |

State Coroner Ian Gray has today heeded key recommendations from a joint community legal centre submission in his findings in the inquest of Sargun Ragi, which were handed down this morning.

Sargun Ragi was killed by her partner in October 2012, and her death has prompted searching ques-tions about how the family violence system can better protect women who report a partner’s violence to immigration authorities.

‘Sargun Ragi was failed by the family violence system, but today’s findings mean that her tragic story will not be rendered invisible and will lead to system changes that will help prevent future family violence deaths,’ said Belinda Lo, an author of the joint submission, and Principal Lawyer with Eastern Community Legal Centre.

A key finding of Judge Gray was that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection should publicly report on the policies it develops in response to community legal centre recommendations that immigration officials seek the permission of women alleging family violence to ensure the involvement of police, and that they case manage family violence using the Common Risk Assessment Framework to achieve an integrated response.

‘We need a system where women do not fall through the cracks because one agency knows about family violence but fails to trigger a response by the broader family violence system,’ Ms Lo said.

Judge Gray also supported recommendations about improved police processes regarding considera-tion of past risk assessments when undertaking risk assessments for current family violence incidents.

He also supported the creation of a family violence advocacy service, and in a further recommendation not canvassed in the community legal centre submission, recommended improved education and behaviour change programs for men from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD).

‘The Coroner’s recommendations in this case are positive and will, if implemented, go some way to preventing deaths of this sort in future,’ said Liana Buchanan, Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, today.

‘However, this case highlights the need to have a rigorous inquest process for every family violence death. The fact is that three of the four recommendations made arose only because community legal centre advocates were following the inquest, were concerned that the system’s failings were not being addressed, and sought leave to make submissions,’ she said.

The joint submission was made by Eastern Community Legal Centre, Broadmeadows Community Legal Service, and the Federation.

 

Media contacts

Belinda Lo
Principal Lawyer
Eastern Community Legal Centre
0449 988 153

Darren Lewin-Hill
Communications Manager
Federation of Community Legal Centres
0488 773 535