Hannah Clarke’s parents say new legislation may have saved daughter

The parents of Hannah Clarke, who was murdered along with her three children in 2020, have welcomed the announcement of Queensland’s new coercive control laws.

Today the state’s premier said legislation criminalising it will be implemented by the end of 2023 as part of a $363 million domestic violence funding package.

Clarke, her son and two daughters were killed by her estranged husband when he set their car on fire during the school run in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill.

Hannah Clarke’s parents LLoyd and Sue have been campaigning for new domestic violence laws in Queensland. (9News)

“Very emotional day for us, this is why we formed Small Steps for Hannah, to give our four angels a voice and make change,” her father Lloyd Clarke said today.

“We’re so happy that they’re also putting money into education for kids need to know what a better relationship is like, a healthy relationship.

“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,” he added.

When asked whether these laws had been in place when Hannah was seeking help would she still be alive, her mum Sue Clarke said through tears: “I’d like to think so. I really do.”

“It’s a hard one, he was a monster, there was no way to stop him but we’re hoping with this perpetrator program too, that will help perpetrators to understand what they’re doing and change their minds,” her dad added.

Hannah Clarke and her three children
Hannah Clarke and her three children were killed by her estranged husband. (Supplied)

Sue Clarke said they hope the criminalisation of coercive control can be implemented nationally, and said today’s announcement will also fund education for police.

“The police do a great job, but unfortunately there is a few that need a bit more education … and if we have the funding and education to support the police I think they can do a better job,” she said. 

“She was very lucky her first dealing with the police force she had a wonderful policewoman who believed her and understand what she was going through, she didn’t understand.”

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.


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