Former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has announced plans to step out of the public spotlight, calling her four years on the coalface of family violence advocacy “grueling and unrelenting”.
In a statement released today, Ms Batty said her campaign was unsustainable, and she was tired.
She needed time to mourn her son, Luke, she said.
It's four years today since Luke was taken from me. I think of him every day and I'm so glad he hasn't been forgotten by all of you.— Rosie Batty (@RosieBatty1) February 12, 2018
Ms Batty was thrust into the spotlight when 11-year-old Luke was murdered by his father, Ms Batty’s ex-partner Greg Anderson.
“Unfortunately I realise that I can’t keep going at this pace forever,” she said.
“I now need to prioritise my self-care and recognise my limitations – advice that has been given to me by trusted friends for some time.”
Since her son’s murder, the 56-year-old has spoken at hundreds of events around the world, been interviewed by the media and established the Luke Batty Foundation.
In her statement, she counted compulsory Respectful Relationships education and family law reforms among her successes.
The foundation named after her son will close its doors, Ms Batty announced, with its funds distributed to appropriate not-for-profit family violence initiatives.
“Now I need time to myself,” the campaigner said.
“Time to mourn and remember Luke, the centre of my world.
“Time to spend at home with my beautiful animals that continue to comfort me in ways that only four legged companions can.”
Ms Batty was crowned Australian of the Year in 2015 in recognition of her campaign against m
Social media was abuzz with tributes to the anti-violence champion.
Feminist icon Anne Summers wished Ms Batty well for the deserved break.
“We can never thank you enough for all you done to end violence against women and children,” Ms Summers wrote.
The Women’s Legal Service of Victoria also lauded Ms Batty for her courage and determination, along with her “willingness to give voice to the unspeakable”.
Ms Batty today laid out the formidable challenges that lay ahead for those working the family violence space.
“There is still much to be done before victims receive the respect that they deserve and I am determined to continue my advocacy to influence the systemic reforms that are still desperately needed, including the family law court system,” she said.
“Thank you for remembering Luke and for making sure that he didn’t die in vain. My little boy will never be forgotten.”