Coercive control to be criminalised in Queensland under new domestic violence laws

Coercive control will be a criminal offence in Queensland by the end of 2023 in a ruling labelled historic by the families of domestic violence victims.

The promise from the Palaszczuk government is part of a $363 million package to double down on offenders and will include a commission of inquiry into how police handle and respond to domestic violence cases.

The families of victims like Hannah Clarke, who was murdered alongside her three children and Allison Baden-Clay, murdered by her husband in 2012 have pushed for the reform.
Annastacia Palaszcszuk responds to Federal Budget at Parliament House. (Annastacia Palaszczuk)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called the new ruling “a historic day” for Queensland families.

“Coercive control is the most common factor leading up to intimate partner homicide,” the premier said.

“This is a very significant step.”

Coercive control includes behaviour like isolating a victim from loved ones, monitoring and controlling their activity, financial control, threats, intimidation and emotional or psychological abuse.

Hannah Clarke’s parents have pushed for the criminalisation of coercive control since their daughter’s death., (Nine)

The new package will work on the prevention, identification and punishment of coercive control and will include educational strategies to help identify abusive behaviours.

“We need more education so the community understands what coercive control is so they can identify the signs and take action,” Palaszczuk said.

The offence of stalking will be tightened and $106 million will be committed to protecting victims in court.

The four-month commission of inquiry will address how police assist victims and deal with reports of domestic abuse, which make up a significant portion of policing work.

Hannah Clarke with her three children Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey.
Hannah Clarke and her children were murdered by Clarke’s estranged partner in 2020. (Supplied)

Police will trial conducting responses with specialist domestic violence services.

Former Queensland police commissioner Bob Atkinson said the changes were a step in the right direction.

“I think its a long journey,” he said.

“While men can be victims of domestic violence the vast, vast majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women and I think fundamentally what we need to do is change the views, beliefs and behaviours of those men towards women.

“That won’t happen overnight but this is a very big step.”

Hannah Clarke with her two daughters Laianah and Aaliyah.
Clarke’s parents said coercive control laws could have saved their daughter. (Supplied)

He added ten women are hospitalised in Queensland a day due to abuse from their partners.

According to Counting Dead Women Australia, 18 women have already lost their lives at the hands of a partner this year while approximately one woman a week is killed in Australia due to domestic violence.

The parents of Hannah Clarke, who was burned to death in her car with her three children by her estranged partner, believe coercive control laws could have saved the young mum.

Lloyd and Sue Clarke have been pushing for the criminalisation of coercive control since their daughter’s death in 2020.

“A very emotional day for us. This is why we fought, especially for Hannah to give our poor angels a voice and make change,” Mr Clarke said.

“We’re also very grateful they’re putting money in to education for kids who need to know what a better relationship is like, a healthy relationship and also to the police force.”

“Now we just need to work on the other state,” Ms Clarke said.

Not all women’s safety advocates have pushed for the reform.

There has been criticism from groups who questioned the terms of reference of the inquiry and expressed concern that the creation of a new criminal offence could further criminalise certain women, particularly Aboriginal women experiencing violence.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.

In an emergency, call 000.

The Men’s Referral Service is aimed at men who need help to stop violent or controlling behaviour, but it also supports victims and families. You can call on 1300 766 491

Reference-www.9news.com.au

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