A cricket practice session at the Melbourne suburb of Tyabb on 12 February 2014 was just starting to wind up with people dispersing and parents taking their sons back to the family cars for the trip home.
But one boy would never make it back – 11 year old Luke Batty – who was cornered by his father, Greg Anderson and then beaten and stabbed to death at the nearby cricket nets. Anderson was later shot dead by police after refusing to surrender.
Anderson had a long history of domestic and sexual violence and was well known to local police. He had shown increasingly unstable behaviour over the previous decade and was known for outbursts of temper and dominating behaviour towards women. He was known as NQR (not quite right) by several of his one-time house-mates and was suspected of being mentally ill by many who knew him.
By 2014 he had been estranged from his partner, Rosemary Batty, for more than twelve years but had continued to threaten and harass her, leading to a court order that prohibited any contact between Anderson and Luke, and officially recognised both mother and son as “protected persons”.
However it was never believed that Anderson would hurt Luke and in July 2013 a Court decision decreed that he could be permitted limited contact with his son at public sporting events. This led to the tragic events at Tyabb just seven months later.
Luke’s murder generated massive fallout, leading to a national campaign against domestic violence, led by Rosie Batty. She was declared Australian of the Year for 2015 and her story was instrumental in the establishment of the Victorian 2015 Royal Commission into family violence.
On 25 November 2015 Rosie Batty was the high profile guest speaker at a White Ribbon Day function in Melbourne where she discussed the work of the Luke Batty Foundation – an organisation she established to support women and children affected by domestic violence. You can support the Luke Batty Foundation and find out more information here.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, contact 1800-Respect (Australia) or 0800-456-450 (NZ) for help, advice and counselling.