The price men DON'T pay for strangling their partners
Our criminal code was toughened up to ensure women stranglers spend time in jail. Yet hundreds of these abusers will spend no time in jail. We need to ask why, writes journalist SHERELE MOODY.
SERIOUS questions needs to be asked about why Bryce William Monkivitch - and hundreds like him - are not seeing the inside of a prison cell.
When Queensland added non-fatal strangulation, suffocation and choking to the state's criminal code in 2016, there was hope this would see these particular domestic violence perpetrators cooling their heels in the slammer for a decent stretch.
Queensland was the first Australian state or territory to introduce a maximum penalty of seven years for this crime, with other jurisdictions having followed suit or in the process of going down this path.
Strangulation is almost always perpetrated by men and the main victims of these attacks are almost always women (and sometimes children).
It is an act that causes serious physical and emotional trauma - including paralysis, miscarriage, memory loss and damage to vision, vocal chords, hearing and breathing.
Women who are strangled are more likely to be murdered or seriously maimed than those who are not.
The laws are designed to recognise the impacts of these assaults, while sending a tough prevention message to would-be perpetrators and holding those who try to asphyxiate their partners to account.
Despite all of this, Monkivitch and his ilk are avoiding prison thanks to a legal fraternity seeming hell bent on giving these blokes an easy ride.
The 29-year-old businessman's sad and sordid tale is reminiscent of many acts of intimate partner violence - in includes jealousy, controlling behaviour, emotional abuse and hands around a woman's throat.
During a night out with friends he repeatedly accused the woman of having an affair (she wasn't), his drunken fits of aggressive pique were so concerning that bouncers called cops to attend the venue.
The woman fled the area but he followed her into a dark and empty laneway where he continued abusing her.
"I will wreck you here on the Sunshine Coast," was amongst his verbal attacks.
"Do you know how many people I know here.
"I'll wreck you."
Not content with destroying her emotionally, he grabbed her by the throat, applying pressure to her windpipe for around 10 seconds.
She blacked out and fell to the ground, waking a short time later.
Instead of calling an ambulance for his vulnerable and injured partner, Monkivitch tried to silence her screams for help.
Somehow she pushed her way out of his grasp and escaped before he could do anymore damage.
Police and medicos noted down her injuries including hand marks on her neck, a swollen throat and a damaged sneeze reflex.
I was the journalist who covered his first appearance in the Brisbane Supreme Court in mid-2017.
His bail application that day came hot on the heels of the Queensland Government launching stricter bail laws forcing accused domestic violence perpetrators to prove to the court that they were safe to be released until trial or sentence.
Monkivitch was one of the first offenders to face the bail justice under these.
Despite having assaulted three men in the past as well as having strangled his partner he was released and returned home to Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Monkivitch cried innocent for almost two years, all the while insisting the matter go to trial - one can only imagine how taxing and stressful this was for his victim.
Monkivitch finally admitted his guilt in April 2019 and faced court for his sentencing last week.
The crown prosecutor - who must surely aim to get justice for the victim and to send a strong message to other offenders - pushed for him to spend no time in actual custody.
A move Monkivitch's legal team was very much behind.
Judge Glen Cash agreed, sentencing him to 18 months jail but with immediate parole on one charge of strangulation in a domestic setting.
Monkivitch is not the only Queensland bloke getting off lightly for this awful crime.
There's been more than 500 prosecutions of these offences in Queensland since the laws were introduced some three years ago.
Around 25% of the perpetrators did not get a jail term while the average prison sentence for thoe who did was 1.9 years.
This data does not factor in those released immediately on parole or given a suspended sentence - so the number of men not being punished as the law requires could be significantly higher.
Giving stranglers a get out of jail free card is a slap in the face for their victims and it is a mockery of laws that were designed specifically to hold men like Monkivitch to account by ensuring they are adequately punished.
It seems no matter how badly some blokes treat women, there will always be soft-hearted legal professionals bending over backwards to give them a free pass while depriving their victims of any sense of justice.
News Corp journalist Sherele Moody has multiple journalism excellence awards for her work highlighting violence in Australia. Sherele is also a 2019 Our Watch fellow and the founder of The RED HEART Campaign and the Australian Femicide & Child Death Map.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Mensline on MensLine on 1800 600 636.