This article considers the use of aggravated sentencing provisions available under hate crime models to enhance punishment in selected cases of extreme violence against women. Grounded in an analysis of cases studies from Australia and New Zealand, this article adds to the literature on gender, hate crime and punishment by exploring the value of aggravated sentencing in key cases that mobilise public debate and disquiet about violence against women. Whilst acknowledging the risks of mobilising hate crime discourses to denounce and punish violence against women, this paper contends that the selective use of aggravating sentencing provisions in some cases offers a valuable opportunity to contest gendered violence. Although cases of extreme violence by strangers against women are rare, the visibility of and community concern over such crimes does offer a platform to build community knowledge and understanding about all forms of violence against women. Aggravated sentencing for hate crimes therefore, although potentially applicable in a small number of cases, can have a wider beneficial effect.