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Luke Batty inquest: Rosie Batty defends her actions leading up to son's death -

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ELEANOR HALL: Rosie Batty has been a picture of composure and resilience for most of the seven months since her son Luke was killed by his father at a sports oval.

But at the inquest into Luke's death, the distraught mother became enraged as she recounted her experiences with the justice system.

A legal expert who has been attending the hearing says it is a familiar pattern for survivors of family violence.

In Melbourne, Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: The Victorian Coroner's Court is holding an inquest into the death of 11-year-old Luke Batty, killed by his father at a sports oval in suburban Melbourne in February.

For the first three days of the inquest, Luke's mother Rosie Batty has been questioned about her experiences with the justice system and child protection in the months and years leading up to Luke's death.

In recent months, police have come under intense scrutiny for their failure to arrest Greg Anderson despite there being several outstanding warrants for him at the time of Luke Batty's murder.

But yesterday at the inquest, asked to defend her own decisions, Rosie Batty exploded, saying she tried to act in the best interests of Luke while also protecting herself from the escalating violence inflicted on her by her former husband Greg Anderson.

"A mother is never important enough," she said. "Can you imagine what that feels like? That someone against all odds wants to make you suffer for the rest of your life to win? Let me tell you by the end of this investigation, I hope you all do."

Dr Chris Atmore is a policy advisor with the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

She's attending the inquest.

CHRIS ATMORE: Rosie's sadly not unusual in terms of how many different legal forums and services she's had to try and get help from over the last 12 years or so.

I think there's a sense in which, in Victoria and in Australia and probably many parts of the world, we basically crucify victims of family violence.

It was like watching a crucifixion. I think there's just this sense in which, once again, the wounds had to be opened and revealed for everyone to dissect and examine and ask questions about.

Somehow, we always expect more and more and more of her.

ALISON CALDWELL: She said she made the best decisions she could at the time.


ALISON CALDWELL: What she really wants is to learn from this. What's the lesson that we should all be learning?

CHRIS ATMORE: What she was really asking for was people with power who weren't her to take responsibility to recognise the risk, to talk to each other, and then respond in a coherent manner to make sure that Greg was not in a position to do what he did.

The whole legal system expects a woman under extreme pressure to still be incredibly rational and not emotional, and if you lose it, you lose. It's used against you.

So I think we got an inkling of her sadness and distress and frustration over all these years, but of course particularly since Luke died.

And of course now we're moving on to the part of the inquest where the agencies whose actions are a part of the context. But of course, they will be seeking to minimise that risk, that nobody should have known about it, that they couldn't have been expected to respond.

And I'm sure that none of the other witnesses in the inquest will be on the stand for nearly as long as Rosie, which is just fundamentally wrong. I think it replicates some of the processes that she's had to endure through seeking intervention orders and through all her other contacts with services, that once again, it's her actions.

ALISON CALDWELL: Victorian police, paramedics, and staff from the Department of Human Services will also give evidence at the inquest which is expected to conclude in December.

ELEANOR HALL: Alison Caldwell with that report.