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Australia Baby Kobi tragedy highlights the need for improvement, anti-domestic violence campaigner says

01:35  23 april  2021
01:35  23 april  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a baby posing for the camera: Kobi Shepherdson in a photo supplied by her mother to SA Police.  (Supplied: SA Police) © Provided by ABC NEWS Kobi Shepherdson in a photo supplied by her mother to SA Police.  (Supplied: SA Police)

An anti-domestic violence campaigner says the suspected murder-suicide at the Barossa Reservoir highlights the need for more to be done to prevent such tragedies.

Warning: This story contains details that readers may find distressing.

Henry Shepherdson, 38, jumped from the Whispering Wall tourist attraction with his nine-month-old daughter Kobi in a baby carrier on Wednesday afternoon.

Police said initial investigations revealed a history of domestic violence between Mr Shepherdson and Kobi's mother.

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On Thursday, SA Police Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott said it would be a complex investigation to determine what happened in the lead-up to the deaths.

"We have been notified of some domestic violence incidents and reports in relation to the family," he said.

"There are court processes in place in relation to this family as well."

Mr Shepherdson was listed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on the day of the tragedy.

SA Water said the incident had had wide-reaching impacts, and that out of respect for the family involved the wall would remain closed until Saturday.

South Australia's Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said she would be watching the investigation closely.

"This is a tragic and traumatic event. Our thoughts are with Kobi's mother, her family and friends at this difficult time," she said.

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"The matter will be subject to a full investigation, and we will be watching that process closely."

Anti-domestic violence campaigner Arman Abrahimzadeh said it was important to look into whether there were any shortfalls in how Mr Shepherdson's case was handled within the court system.

"This tragic incident highlights that there are improvements that need to be made," he said.

"An investigation needs to be undertaken first, we need to look through and see if there were any failures or shortfalls," he said.

"From there on, I would like to see the lawmakers and the law enforces work together to fill any gaps or close any loopholes if there were any."

Mr Abrahimzadeh said family and domestic violence was a complex issue that could not be resolved with a blanket approach.

"It's horrific, and no family should be going through this, no family should be mourning the loss of a nine-month-old," he said.

"We know already that we are losing over one woman a week to family and domestic violence in Australia, and we are losing children as a result of family and domestic violence as well."

He urged anyone experiencing domestic violence to reach out for professional assistance.

"It's important to surround yourself with a strong support network," Mr Abrahimzadeh said.

"We do have the family and domestic violence and sexual assault hotline, that's operating 24-7 on 1800 RESPECT, there is Lifeline, there is MensLine."

"There are ways for people to reach out and get help and I would everyone to reach out and get professional help wherever they need it."

Members of the public have paid their respects to Kobi by placing tributes at the entrance to the Whispering Wall site.

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