KILLING TIME: Why this is the deadliest moment to be a woman
ALICIA Little was killed just three days after Christmas in 2017 - her partner Charles McKenzie Ross Evans ran her down with his car as she prepared to walk away from the relationship.
A victim of ongoing domestic violence, Alicia's mother says she noticed a step-up in abuse from Evans in the last three months of Alicia's life.
An increased propensity for violence has become synonymous with this time of year.
Frontline workers say the last few months of each year are the most dangerous for women due to a toxic mixture of pent-up frustrations over AFL and NRL grand finals, anger at Melbourne Cup results, Christmas financial struggles and family pressures, increased consumption of alcohol in the summer heat and parents fighting over school holiday child access.
There are just three months left of 2019, but already 55 women have been lost to alleged acts of murder or manslaughter - 11 died in September.
If the killings continue at this rate, Australia will be on track to having one of the highest femicide tolls in a decade.
While most of this year's murders and manslaughters of women are attributed to acts of domestic and family violence, a number of females have also been killed by strangers and associates.
Alicia's mother Lee said it was frustrating to know that the killing of women was not waning.
She hoped others would see Alicia's story as evidence that more needed to be done.
"He stopped Alicia from spending Christmas with us that year - it was the first time she didn't see us on Christmas Day," Mrs Little said.
"We were very worried about her because there was a build-up of abuse and violence.
"Alicia got through Christmas, but three days later she was done.
"Her bags were packed and she was leaving when he killed her.
"This was a bad time of the year, absolutely.
"I think it is important for other parents to know this - they need to keep an eye on their daughters and their sons and look for the signs - please look for them."
Evans was originally charged with murder but agreed to plead to a downgraded offence of dangerous driving causing death. He will be eligible for parole after serving two years of a four-year sentence.
Rosie Batty is appalled by Australia's "lack of action" on violence against women, saying if this many people were killed by terrorists the federal response would be swift.
Rosie's son Luke was killed by her abusive former partner so she knows very well the impact of violence on our community.
"Why is that we do not prioritise this as a national emergency?" the former Australian of the Year asked.
"At the first perceived threat of terrorism, our government acts immediately to supply funding for policing, protection and other efforts and to change laws.
"Violence against women is terrorism - it is claiming more lives than any terrorist has ever claimed on our soil.
"I do not get the impression that this is a priority for the government - I just do not see any evidence."
The rate of women being killed has increased this year from one death a week to 1.4 a week, my research shows and experts are not at all surprised by this.
Nicole McMahon leads 1800 Respect, the national telephone support line for those in domestic and sexual violence crisis.
"Any death of anyone impacted by violence is a national tragedy," she said.
Ms McMahon said years of experience had shown the organisation that the next few months would be extremely dangerous.
She has rostered on more support workers to answer a huge influx of calls for help.
"Events like the Melbourne Cup, grand finals and Christmas and New Year create environments where violence occurs due to heightened emotions, close proximity of people and consumption of alcohol," she said.
"We get a jump in calls in the days following these events because the survivors are often not in a position to phone straight away."
Lawyer Angela Lynch said she feared for women experiencing violence.
"On the run down to Christmas there is a frantic nature of existence," the Women's Legal Service Queensland CEO said.
"During that time if you are in a family where there is stress you can see violent outbursts - alcohol consumption can make the conditions more dangerous."
Minister for Women Marise Payne said the Federal Government would spend $340million - over three to four years - on support, services and other programs designed to aid women and children in crisis and to change underlying attitudes that result in violence.
When asked to comment on the 55 women killed in 2019, Senator Payne said: "Australia has zero tolerance for violence against women and their children - every Australian must be able to live safe and free from violence." - NewsRegional
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800737732 or Mensline on 1800600636.