Andrea Pickett 13g - Systemic failure to protect


Systemic failure to protect: ineffectiveness of VROs

A screenshot from the 4 Corners episode 'A Matter of Life and Death' shows a framed portrait photo of Andrea Pickett. She is smiling with her dark hair pulled back from her face. The framed photo sits on a desk in a domestic setting.

[imagecaption] Screenshot ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, 4 Corners, 2012). [/imagecaption]

‘To end the unacceptable impact of violence against Aboriginal women, like Lynette, Ms Dhu and Andrea Pickett and the many others we don’t hear about, we need all parties to back up words with investment in services for safety.’

Antoinette Braybrook (Kuku Yalanji), Convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum


The 4 Corners episode, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ considers the violent deaths of Andrea Pickett and Saori Jones, two women who were targeted by men and failed by the systems that were meant to protect them. Andrea had made countless attempts to keep herself and her children safe, including applying for violence restraining orders (VROs).

The Family’s campaigning, the inquest finding, and the national media attention to Andrea’s murder also triggered a WA Ombudsman’s Investigation and the Law Reform Committee Investigation into Family Violence Law and Practice.

The Four Corners documentary became a training tool for Western Australia Police officers and detectives and officers in the Northern Territory.  It was also broadcast at the United Nations Conference on the Status of Women in 2003 and at other national conferences.

The Ombudsman’s report entitled, ‘Investigation into issues associated with violence restraining orders and their relationship with family and domestic violence fatalities‘ concluded that in 17 of 30 domestic violence fatalities over an 18 month period, a VRO was in force at the time of the fatality.

According to the research, the effectiveness of a VRO decreases as the risk to the person experiencing violence increases and in high risk cases, restraining orders are insufficient if used alone.


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.