Family violence expert says Monis’s repeated attacks on women should have been paramount when bail was considered.
Man Haron Monis would never have been released on bail if domestic violence was taken more seriously in Australia, a prominent family violence expert and lawyer believes.
Two hostages died on Tuesday morning, along with Monis, after he held 15 people at gunpoint in a Sydney cafe for 16 hours.
Monis’s links to terrorist groups and religious affiliations have been extensively canvassed in the media.
But Dr Chris Atmore, a senior policy adviser with the Federation of Community Legal Centres, said his repeated attacks on women should have been paramount when bail was considered.
Monis was on bail for allegedly being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and more than 40 charges of sexual and indecent assault.
“If these offences had been labelled as seriously as terrorism charges, there’s no way he would have been free to do what he did in Martin Place,” Atmore said.
She said violence against women also deserved to be labelled as terrorism.
“We reserve our greatest fear and shock and horror for a strange, international type of terrorism that we associate with groups like Islamic State, but don’t immediately make an association in this case between ordinary mundane terrorism, where men kill their wives.”
In a series of high-profile recent cases, men with a history of physical and sexual violence against women have killed while on bail, parole or facing charges, despite being deemed a low risk of harming again.
Last year, Julie Grant was murdered by her ex-partner, Shannon Mahon, who was on bail for assault.
In April, Fiona Warzywoda was stabbed to death by her de facto husband, who had a family violence order out against him.
In February Kelly Thompson was stabbed to death by her former partner, who had frequently breached intervention orders.
In the same month Greg Anderson murdered his 11-year-old son, Luke Batty, while facing 11 criminal charges, most of them domestic violence related. He also faced child sex abuse charges.
Like Anderson, few of those who knew Monis believed he was capable of killing. Both men had radical and delusional religious leanings and beliefs, and both had allegedly previously threatened to kill.
A spokesman for the male violence prevention organisation No to Violence, Rodney Vlais, said bail applications were always difficult for magistrates and judges, but the debate around Monis urgently needed to include violence against women.
“Man Haron Monis was charged with a number of very serious family violence and sexual assault offences,” Vlais told Guardian Australia.
“While this has been mentioned briefly in some media reports, its lack of focus provides the message that his terrorism only ‘started’ with the awful and tragic Sydney siege. His former wife and those women who he had allegedly sexually assaulted were also victims of his terrorism.”
On Wednesday the prime minister, Tony Abbott, acknowledged the systemic failings in dealing with Monis. Abbott described him as “deeply unstable” and highlighted his long history of violence and mental illness, but did not specifically mention his violence against women.
“The system did not adequately deal with this individual, there is no doubt about that,” Abbott said, promising answers in a “report that will be out there for all to see”.
But Vlais said it was disappointing that the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook statement, released earlier this week, significantly increased resources to address terrorism, while ignoring family violence.
“Not one cent of this money is being committed towards preventing men’s terrorism addressed directly towards women through family violence and sexual assault,” he said.
“By not linking his violence to violence against women, Abbott communicates that there are two different types and one deserves focus and attention and understable government response while completely minimising the importance of violence against women – which is almost all of [Monis’s] previous violence.”
This story was written by Melissa Davey in December 2014 and has been copied from here.