Push to eliminate violence against women with coercive control legislation

By Melissa Coade

Monday November 29, 2021

Shannon Fentiman
Queensland attorney-general Shannon Fentiman. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Queensland attorney-general Shannon Fentiman has underscored the state government’s commitment to ending violence against women with new coercive-control laws.

In a joint statement with premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to mark White Ribbon Day on Friday, the A-G said legislating against coercive control was a ‘crucial part’ of the government’s efforts.

“However, if we are to truly tackle domestic and family violence, we need cultural change in our communities and we need men and boys to respect women and girls,” Fentiman said. 

The Queensland government also published a highlights card of its Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026 last week. The strategy has been designed to enact change across all sectors of the community to end all forms of violence, with about $600 million in government funding since 2015 going to domestic, family and sexual violence programs, services and strategies.

Palaszczuk echoed the A-G’s message that more needed to be done to increase community confidence to report domestic and family violence incidents.

“We will continue to work to educate and empower Queenslanders on how they can intervene in a safe, proactive and respectful way,” the premier said, adding that the latest highlights card showed people recognised the actions and behaviours that constituted domestic and family violence, including controlling and intimidating conduct.

“There’s been an enormous effort to increase awareness of domestic and family violence in all its forms – in the classroom and in the workplace.

“In the last 12 months, 42% of Queenslanders reported their workplace had engaged in domestic and family violence prevention initiatives — increasing from 26% recorded in 2017.

“And [a total of] 96% of Queenslanders agreed that teaching children about respectful attitudes and behaviours in relationships will help reduce domestic and family violence in the future,” she added.

But a highlights card also reported a drop in members of the community saying they were likely to report to police if they were aware of physical domestic and family violence involving a neighbour — with 69% saying they would do so compared with 78% in last year and 79% in 2017.

The numbers of calls to support lines in 2020-21 also dropped by more than 25,000 calls on the previous year, while the number of hours recorded by duty lawyers providing assistance to alleged victims and perpetrators increased from 22,592 hours in 2019-20 to 25, 099 hours in 2020-21.

In the last financial year, the highlights card also showed that police attended nearly 120,000 DFV related matters, a 13% increase on the year before.

“The theme of this year’s White Ribbon Day is ‘How Can Men Make Change? Learn, Give, Take Action’ – a reminder of the critical role men play in changing attitudes and behaviours, which contribute to domestic and family violence,” the premier said. 

“Our message is clear — we want Queensland women and children to live a life free of violence.”


READ MORE:

Qld government convenes violence prevention roundtable in Longreach

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