Eeva Dorendahl, 4.
Eeva Dorendahl, 4. Contributed: Tweed Police Facebo

Mum calls for action on family violence after tragic loss

EEVA Dorendahl was a "pragmatic" girl with a "radiant smile". After her mum, Michelle, lost her own mother to cancer, Eeva filled the cracks in her grief with "love, joy and wonder".

When Michelle Dorendahl was pregnant with her second child, Eeva lost her life in tragic circumstances that have this week been considered by a coronial inquest.

When she spoke before the inquest, Ms Dorendahl drew on her love for Eeva in highlighting the need for tangible action on family violence.

The inquest is looking at the medical cause of how Eeva, aged four-and-a-half, and her mentally ill father, Gregory Hutchings, died.

Deputy State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan will hand down her findings in March, but the inquest heard police believe Mr Hutchings, 35, took Eeva's life, then his own.

The pair were found in coastal bushland between Pottsville and Hastings Point on January 28, 2014, 17 days after they had disappeared.

"The sheer volume of domestic violence call-outs in Australia shows we all of us need to be doing things differently," Ms Dorendahl said.

"If we learn anything from this week and the preceding five years, I need it to be that we must be prepared to face hard and uncomfortable truths in order to save the lives of children.

"So far this year, 20 children have been murdered in Australia. I need my child's death to provoke change, not attract lip service.

"I need the love I felt and feel for her to result in positive outcomes for other children and families."

Counsel assisting the Crown Peggy Dwyer said the scene which confronted police when the pair were found was "truly tragic".

The matter was set down for further oral submissions on March 1 at Lidcombe in Sydney, before findings are handed down on March 22.

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