Gendered violence scars community after third tragedy

A regional Victorian mayor has appealed for people to call-out gendered violence and disrespect following the alleged killings of three local women.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking," Ballarat City mayor Des Hudson said.

The body of 23-year-old Clunes woman Hannah McGuire was found in a burnt out car at Scarsdale, about 25km south of Ballarat, on April 5, a few hours after she was reported missing by her parents.

Lachlan Young, 21, allegedly known to Ms McGuire, has been charged with her murder.

Mr Hudson maintained the region remained a safe place, despite a spate of recent tragedies including the disappearance of Samantha Murphy and the suspected murder-suicide killing of mother-of-five Rebecca Young by her partner.

Samantha Murphy.
Samantha Murphy's body has still not been found, although a man, 22, has been charged with murder.

"There is a commonality that is running through each of those three circumstances where they lost their lives due to the behaviour and decisions of males," he said.

Mr Hudson said the murders did not reflect his community.

"We have to make a stand," he said.

"We have to call out inappropriate comments, and actions, to be able to make sure it is safe for every person, regardless of gender, of sexuality, of ethnic or religious background."

Womens Health Grampians chief executive Marianne Hendron said councils and influential organisations must come together to improve safety for women and vulnerable people.

"It's not a Ballarat issue," Ms Hendron said..

"Sadly, in Australia, 23 women have have died already this year, at least that we know of."

Premier Jacinta Allan said violence against women was unacceptable and had to stop.

"Women don't just deserve the right, they must have the right to live and work and move safely around our community," he said.

The premier said her thoughts and prayers were with Ms McGuire's family and the broader community.

Outside court on Tuesday, Ms McGuire's family members were emotional as they stood behind their lawyer, Brooke Tamanika, while she addressed media.

"As you can imagine, this is a very devastating time for the family, for Hannah's loved ones and for our community as a whole," she said.

She asked for people to respect the family's privacy as they mourn Ms McGuire.

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