26 September 2023

Family violence leads to law overhaul

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An overhaul of laws and practices to protect Queensland women from domestic and family violence has been announced by the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Ms Palaszczuk said the ‘historic’ overhaul would explore the laws and practices to protect women from domestic and family violence better and hold perpetrators to account.

The Premier said the proposed reforms would include: New laws and programs to prevent and punish coercive control by making it a criminal offence; A Commission of Inquiry into police practices; Expansion of the Domestic and Family Violence courts; A special strategy for First Nations communities; Funding for perpetrator programs; and Increased respectful education for all Queensland children and young people.

The premier said all were the result of Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce’s first report Hear Her Voice handed down last December with the expectation a Bill would be introduced before the end of 2023.

“The package of reforms to address this problem includes a community education campaign to recognise it, the expansion of respectful relationship courses and further training for police,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Attorney-General and Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Shannon Fentiman welcomed the plan.

“Our systems need to respond better to this unique form of violence and we need to shift our focus from responding to single incidents of violence to the pattern of abusive behaviour that occurs over time,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We will also explore options to improve availability and accessibility of intervention programs for DFV perpetrators.”

A four-month Commission of Inquiry is to hear the testimony of victims and make recommendations to improve their treatment.

The Attorney-General said that in addition, the Queensland Police would collaborate with co-response models involving police and specialist DFV services working together.

The Premier said confronting the reality of domestic and family violence was the most important step in dealing with it.

“Not one of us can deal with this issue,” she said.

“It will take all of us.”

Information about the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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