Police inquiry announced as part of QLD domestic violence reform

By Anna Macdonald

Wednesday May 11, 2022

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

The Queensland government is looking to reform the state’s approach to domestic violence, in a package worth $363 million. 

One of the key aspects of the reform is the criminalisation of coercive control, with a bill set to be introduced by the end of the year following the murder of Hannah Clarke and her children by her partner Rowan Baxter

Additionally, an inquiry into police practices will be launched, following concerns raised by the Hear her voice report about police attitudes towards women reporting domestic violence.

Attorney-general and minister for justice, minister for women and the prevention of domestic and family violence Shannon Fentiman said the reforms are aimed at improving the system’s response to incidents of patterns of domestic violence.

“We will also explore options to improve the availability and accessibility of intervention programs for DFV perpetrators. Intervening to help perpetrators change their behaviour is essential to keeping victims safe from violence.

“We will look to continue and expand trials of online perpetrator interventions and programs addressing violence perpetrated by young men against a parent,” Fentiman said. 

The reforms are based on recommendations from the Hear her voice report by The Women’s Safety and Justice taskforce.

In a statement about the report, chair of the taskforce Margaret McMurdo said: “Victims reported vast inconsistencies in the response they received from the police, at times feeling supported only to be later let down by an unhelpful response to their need for safety.”

“Police are the gateway to the justice system, and we need to do better,” McMurdo added.

Finding the police have inadequately responded to domestic violence incidents, the aforementioned police inquiry is set to last for four months. The inquiry will hear recommendations from victims of domestic violence. 

“Officers need to be able to better identify DFV as a pattern of behaviour over time and assess risk for coercive control and non-physical forms of violence,” Fentiman said. 

“We will act to develop specialist expertise and training in DFV, and improve the frontline response to incidents through the development of a manual to guide officers.”

Other parts of the reform package include the expansion of the domestic and family violence courts, a First Nations strategy, prevention programs targeted at men, and education campaigns.


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Queensland ramps up cash support for domestic and family violence programs

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