Rosie Batty says child protection agencies must look at what they could have done to prevent her son Luke’s tragic death.
Rosie Batty says she agonises over what she could have done to save her son Luke from his father and Victoria’s child protection agencies must do the same.
Ms Batty wept as she implored agencies such as Victoria Police and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to be open minded at the inquest into her son’s tragic death.
“If I have to look at myself – and I don’t have to but I do everyday, as his mother – how could I have protected him, if I have to live with that analysis then I’m sure organisations have to as well,” she told reporters.
“This is about saving children’s lives. It is not about agencies or services protecting themselves from what legally they might get hauled over the coals about.”
Greg Anderson, 54, was shot dead by police after he killed 11-year-old Luke during a custody visit at cricket training in the Victorian town of Tyabb in February.
Anderson had been playing with his son when he struck the boy in the head with a cricket bat and stabbed him at the Tyabb cricket oval, the only place where he was legally allowed to visit his son due to an intervention order.
State Coroner Judge Ian Gray on Thursday ruled the inquest will focus on the final 18 months of Luke’s life and what police and the DHS knew about the family violence threat posed by Anderson and what they did in response.
The intervention orders taken out against Anderson, which initially restricted access to Luke but were later changed to allow limited access, will also be investigated.
Ms Batty had requested that the inquest examine police prosecutors and their handling of bail applications made in court by Anderson.
The Victorian Coroners Court heard police initially opposed Anderson getting bail in April 2013. But they did not oppose his bail at another hearing in mid 2013.
Anderson had breached an intervention order and was caught with child pornography, the court heard.
But Judge Gray ruled the bail issue was not relevant, given the matters were not serious enough to have kept Anderson in jail until the time he killed Luke.
Ms Batty said the child protection system was failing to protect women and their children in Victoria and called for change.
“Whether it’s police or a child protection person, they go to work every day trying to do their best. But there are systemic failings,” she said.
“Children have very little voice and the coroner’s inquest is about Luke’s voice and it’s about making sure Luke is heard and respected and honoured because I don’t want him to have died in vain.”
The court was told a report into the tragedy by the Commission for Children and Young People is unlikely to be finished in time to be considered by Judge Gray.
But commissioner Bernie Geary later confirmed the report would be finished in time.
The inquest will begin on October 13 to be followed by an inquest into Anderson’s death.