All I want for Christmas is for the killing to stop
ALL I want for Christmas is for the killing to stop.
After spending another year counting dead Australians, I can honestly say I feel hopeless.
Hopeless, that 237 people lost their lives to murder or manslaughter in the past 12 months.
Hopeless, that the number of violent deaths is increasing.
Hopeless, that entire families were wiped out in the most cowardly and heinous acts of murder.
Hopeless, that tiny helpless children - including a 10-week-old baby - were killed before they had a chance to really live.
Hopeless, that most of the women killed this year lost their lives to someone close to them.
Hopeless, that our Federal Government has not invested significant ongoing funding into prevention and support services designed to end the national tragedy that has reached epidemic proportions.
Hopeless, that this national crisis remains under the radar of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
As I write this, 22 children, 78 women and 137 men are dead due to someone else's actions.
Blood was shed in every state and territory this year, but NSW and Queensland were the most dangerous jurisdictions in Australia.
NSW accounted for 79 of the killings, Queensland notched up 45, there were 43 in Victoria, 42 in Western Australia, 15 in South Australia, eight in the Northern Territory, three in the ACT and two deaths in Tasmania.
Western Australia lost more children to violence than any other region, with nine of the 22 kids killed coming from that side of the country.
And NSW recorded the most femicides - 22 women were killed in that state. Eighteen were murdered in WA.
Not surprisingly, men were the majority of perpetrators accounting for 86 per cent of deaths while women were involved in 35 killings.
About 85 of the victims - mostly females but a handful of males - died as a result of family violence.
Sadly, 46 women were killed by someone they lived with or had a relationship with.
Myself, and my friend journalist Catherine Benson, document these deaths because we want you to know how violence shapes our lives.
But we also do it to ensure the stories of these victims remain in our conscious beyond the news cycle.
The stories of people like 15-year-old Jack Edwards held his little sister Jennifer close as they were gunned down by their father John Edwards in Sydney. Their mum Olga ended her life five months later.
The brutality of Peter Miles who carried out the cold and calculated murders of his daughter Katrina Miles, his wife Cynda and his grandchildren Ayre, Kayden, Rylan and Taye Cockman in Margaret River in May.
The toll of violence also reminds us Australians are killed doing things we all take for granted - like Eurydice Dixon who was killed as she walked home and Toyah Cordingley, who died walking her dog on a beach in Queensland.
We cannot lost site of the fact that Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to be harmed by a loved one than anyone else in Australia.
This year at least seven first Australians were killed including Debbie Combargno in Toowoomba. Three men and six women are charged over Debbie's death.
And we must also think about the impact of violence on people from ethnically diverse communities. Just this month Afghan-born Adelaide man Ibrahim Hotak was killed in the lonely and desolate Nullarbor Plain.
And of course, we should always remember that men are the primary victims of homicide in Australia - blokes like father-of-three Corey Christensen and aircraft mechanic Tom Davy who were stabbed to death by an unknown person in Alvie Beach.
For the families and friends of every victim and every perpetrator, the holiday season will be tainted with great sorrow, anger, despair and trauma and sadly, this pain will last a lifetime.
Please spare a thought for the Australians lost to violence in 2018.
And in 2019? I know my Christmas wish will not come true so I will be counting dead Australians again.
News Corp journalist Sherele Moody is the recipient of the 2018 B&T Women in Media Social Change Maker Award and has multiple Clarion and Walkley Our Watch journalism excellence awards for her work reducing violence against women and children. She is also the founder of The RED HEART Campaign and the creator of the Femicide Australia Map.