27 May 2022 16:22
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With flowers soaked in tears, family and friends farewelled Poonam and Vanessa

"Much is hyped by government and others about addressing domestic violence in the community but on-ground support is just minimal."

Indian Australian community farewelled Mill Park home victim of domestic violence at an emotional funeral service in Melbourne’s west.

In an unfortunate incident, On 13th January Indian origin man, Prabhal Sharma allegedly killed his wife Poonam Sharma and 6-year-old daughter Vanessa Sharma.

Poonam Sharma’s parents Chaturbhuj Sharma and Manjeet Sharma have come from the small city of Pathankot in the Punjab state of India to say the last goodbye to their daughter and granddaughter.

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Prabhal Sharma is in police custody and has been charged with the murders of his wife and daughter.

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  • Funeral of Poonam Sharma and Vanessa Sharma: Image Source: The Australia Today
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  • Funeral of Poonam Sharma and Vanessa Sharma: Image Source: The Australia Today

His sister and brother in law also attended the funeral ceremony, they flew in from the UK to be part of the ceremony.

Poonam’s Parents were very emotional while addressing the ceremony. They thanked everyone for standing by them in this difficult time.

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The funeral was organised by the Hindu community organisation Vedic Global.
Monica Sharma Raizada is the founding director of Vedic Global.

She told The Australia Today, “It’s a very difficult time for everyone involved, We are working to help and support Poonam’s parents to the best of our abilities.”

“Poonam’s Parents have requested for privacy from media while they go through their religious rituals for funeral,”

said Ms Raizada.
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One of the family friends who do not want to be named told The Australia Today, “Prabhal Sharma’s sister and brother in law attended the ceremony but Poonam’s parents are not yet in a mental state when both could have an interaction.”

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Ms Raizada works with victims of domestic violence in the Indian Australian community.
She said, “Much is hyped by government and others about addressing domestic violence in the community but on-ground support is just minimal.”

Both these innocent lives could be saved if the system would have worked on the first reported sign of trouble in the family, said Ms Raizada.

“I knew Poonam since she was a young girl, I have seen her growing into a confident young lady with a gold medal in dentistry and today I am organising her funeral.”

Sonila Sharma used to teach Hindi to Vanessa and her sister, daughters of Poonam.

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She told The Australia Today, “I am not able to come to terms that Poonam and Vanessa are not with us.”

“It feels like Vanessa will come next weekend sit in my lap and say Sonila aunty I have learned one more Hindi poem.”

We as the Indian Australian community have to work towards these issues by first raising awareness about what is domestic violence and where to get help if need be, said Ms Sonila Sharma.

Prabhal Sharma is due to appear in court on 17th May 2022.

Family and domestic violence support:

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