Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that coercive control will be made a criminal offence by the end of 2023, amid an outcry from domestic violence advocates and the community.
In a joint statement with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Women and Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman, Ms Palaszczuk noted that a “historic overhaul” of laws will be undertaken in order to give better protection to Queensland women.
She tweeted “not one of us will solve the incidence of domestic and family violence. It’s going to take all of us. Together”.
The government will roll out a $363 million package to make necessary reforms.
New laws and the criminalisation of coercive control were at the top of changes to be made while an expansion on Domestic and Family Violence Courts will be carried out. Domestic violence education, support services plus programs to change men’s behaviour will be funded by the initiative.
An inquiry into police practices will be carried out by the Commission, which will see key changes to training.
“A key focus of the reforms will be to build understanding of DFV and coercive control across the agency to help police improve how they respond to these matters,” said the Attorney-General.
“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.
“We will act to develop specialist expertise and training in DFV and improve the frontline response to incidents through development of a manual to guide officers.”
The overhaul has been advocated by several domestic violence groups around the state and more notably by the families of victims. The parents of Hannah Clarke, who was murdered along with her children by her estranged husband in 2020, have long been advocating for law amendments.
“ [It’s a] very emotional day for us, this is why we formed Small Steps for Hannah, to give our four angels a voice and make change,” Lloyd Clarke said at a press conference.
“To the police force – they’ve always been behind us as well, but they’re underfunded and there’s a lack of recognition of coercive control but with this money hopefully it will make things a lot better.”
The premier noted the changes have been driven by a review of domestic violence in Queensland which was carried out by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce set up by Justice Margaret McMurdo in 2021.