Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin, and Ren Rennie
The Disabilities Collective and Caregivers Network would like to express our love and grief for the autistic victims of the Margaret River murders.
In the past five years, over 550 people with disabilities have been murdered by family members or caregivers. The numbers are likely far higher than what is reported publicly. Disabled people experience disproportionate levels of violence compared to the rest of the population. When disabled people are murdered by their parents, children, spouses, or caregivers, the media coverage often sympathises with the murderer rather than the victim. We are already seeing this pattern repeated in the coverage of the Margaret River shootings.
Disabled victims are framed as burdens and dehumanised. The media explains the murders as arising out of caregiver stress or the hardship or difficulty of having a disabled family member. This does a massive disservice to both disabled people and caregivers. The vast majority of caregivers are not violent, and would never see murder as a logical solution to a lack of provision of disability support services. From what we know, Katrina Miles was a loving mother who did not consider her children to be a burden.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has developed an anti-filicide resource, which may be viewed here: autisticadvocacy.org/projects/community/mourning/anti-filicide/, and a memorial with the names of the dead, here: disability-memorial.org/
On March 1st every year, disability communities around the world come together to mourn and speak the names of our dead. We will have more names to add to the list next year: Take, 13, Rylan, 11, Arye, 10, and Kadyn, 8.