Hannah Clarke’s parents unveil domestic violence refuge in honour of their daughter

Jun 02, 2023
After their daughter and grandchildren's tragic death, Sue and Lloyd tirelessly work to honour their memory and advocate for preventing similar tragedies. Source: Instagram/ @smallsteps4hannah


Hannah Clarke’s parents have opened a new domestic violence refuge, honouring their daughter and providing a safe haven for survivors.

Hannah’s Sanctuary will not only provide a safe place for women and their families escaping domestic violence but will also keep Hannah’s legacy alive after her she was killed alongside her three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, in 2020 at the hands of her estranged husband Rowan Baxter.

Small Steps 4 Hannah and Beyond DV worked together to bring the project to life with tenants expected to move in from next month.

They will have the opportunity to live there for 12 to 18 months, receiving support from a variety of recovery programs and services.

“An absolute incredible morning yesterday with the unveiling of Hannah’s Sanctuary,” Hannah’s parents, Lloyd and Sue Clarke said.

“Here’s a few photos from yesterday’s event, as well as some photos of our first fully furnished & styled townhouse, ready for a family to make it their home.

“Thank you to all those who joined us yesterday and to all those incredible community members who worked behind the scenes to bring Hannah’s Sanctuary to life.

“We are so grateful to have been given this opportunity by a kind hearted Philanthropist Developer. We are very grateful to be a part of this incredible project with Beyond DV.”

After experiencing the heartbreaking loss of their daughter and grandchildren, Sue and Lloyd have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to honouring their memory, while also advocating for preventative measures that can spare other families from enduring a similar tragedy.

“We need the other states to look at what Queensland has started and are doing and they need to follow suit,” Lloyd said following the inquest into his daughter’s death.

“It’s an uncomfortable conversation we’ve started but we all need to keep this conversation ongoing.”

“Hopefully with the education, no one will fail to see that risk again.”

Hannah’s parents were offered some degree of justice for their daughter and grandchildren when an inquest in 2022 found it “unlikely that any further actions taken by police officers, service providers, friends or family members could have stopped Baxter from ultimately executing his murderous plans.”

“Rowan Baxter was not mentally ill. He was a master of manipulation,” Deputy state coroner Jane Bentley told the court.

“That failure probably came about because Baxter had not been violent and had no relevant criminal history.

“Her fears were genuine and realistic and ultimately confirmed in the worst possible way.”

Hannah’s parents found some comfort in the findings, knowing that the authorities are now fully aware of the shortcomings within the system.

“It was never a witch hunt, it was the system that was broken and they’ve realised that. The coroner has seen that well and truly and brought that to a head,” Sue said.

But even if the system wasn’t “broken”, Lloyd believes nothing would have stopped Baxter.

“He was just one of those people … so callous and used everyone as a pawn in his monstrous ways,” he said.

Sue added: “Every now and then I think a true monster is born and you can’t stop them.”

FAMILY VIOLENCE DISCLAIMER: If you are concerned about domestic and family violence in your family, friends or workplace, contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732, Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978, Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 for confidential support, advice and referral that will help you explore your options.

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