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#WhiteRibbonDay Hitting Home & Rosie Batty's The Nice House | @ABCTV @Foxtel

ReviewNikole Gunn

Sarah Ferguson
Image - ABC

The statistics on domestic violence in Australia are horrendous. Police across the country are dealing with more than 600 incidents a day.  That's more than 240,000 incidents of family violence every year. These are only ones that are reported to police.

Those numbers are staggering, but statistics can be cold and impersonal, telling only part of the story.  They don't give voice to the victims or the circumstances they find themselves in.

Airing this week, in time for White Ribbon Day, are two programs that deliver the human side of the story, shining a spotlight on what is going on behind closed doors in thousands of homes across Australia each and every day.

“Hitting Home” airs on the ABC Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  Without sensationalising the Domestic Violence crisis in our country, it takes an unflinching look at the issue and makes for compelling viewing, regardless of how uncomfortable it might make us feel.

Over a five-month period, journalist Sarah Ferguson followed the stories of a number of women, abused by their partners or ex-partners.  She follows them through the court process, stays with them at refuges and speaks with the professionals that are left to help pick up the pieces as they try to put their lives back together.

Ferguson also visits some of the abusers behind bars as they serve time for their crimes. Some fail to recognize that their partners lived in fear.

She also meets the family and friend of a young woman, murdered by her abusive, obsessive and controlling boyfriend. The guilty and pain they feel is heart breaking.  Her mother urging other young women to learn from the tragedy, recognize the danger signs and get out while they still can.

Hitting Home is confronting.  The emotional turmoil suffered by families at the hands of those who profess love for them is not easy to watch.  But, it's an important story to tell and it's been told well.  It should be shown to every senior high school student in the country.  Maybe then we can stop a new generation of abusers and victims.

Rosie Batty
Image - Foxtel

On Foxtel's CI channel, they've taken a different approach, concentrating on the story of Australian of the Year Rosie Batty in "The Nice House".  

The title is in reference to comments she made in the hours after the murder of her 11-year-old son Luke at the hands of his father, Greg Anderson, at cricket practice in February 2014.

"I want to tell everybody that family violence happens to everybody.  No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are.  It can happy to anyone and everyone”.

From that moment, as her life was torn apart by grief, Rosie has been a figure of inspiration, admiration and fascination as she gave voice to those who've been victimised and traumatised in the family home.

And for those who've asked themselves how 'that poor woman' could go on with her life, Rosie provides a few answers with the same grace and humility she displayed in the immediate aftermath of Luke's death and in the almost two years since.  It is very easy to see why politicians, police and even Royalty stop to listen when she speaks.

"The Nice House" is as powerful in its own way as the ABC's "Hitting Home".  But the question needs to be asked: why has Foxtel relegated it to the Criminal Investigation (CI) channel.  Surely it deserves a bigger platform?

Having said that, both Foxtel and the ABC should be congratulated for shining that spotlight into the dark corners of many Australian homes.  Bravo.

Hitting Home airs 8.30pm Tuesday November 24th and Wednesday November 25th on the ABC.

The Nice House premieres 8.30pm Wednesday November 25th on Foxtel’s CI network.