The Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce has today released its first discussion paper seeking community input on how best to legislate against coercive control as a form of domestic and family violence.
The paper also examines the need to create a new offence of ‘commit domestic violence’ in Queensland, amongst a range of options for discussion.
The Chair of the Taskforce, the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, said the discussion paper poses questions designed to provoke thought and consideration about Queensland’s current and best future response to domestic and family violence.
“Our understanding of domestic and family violence is continually evolving,” Ms McMurdo said.
“We are increasingly learning about the significant detrimental impacts of this type of abuse, including when it is not limited to physical violence. The community expects that our laws, systems and processes will respond to this.”
The Taskforce is seeking responses to the paper from people with lived experience, service providers, legal professionals, and the wider community.
“We acknowledge there are strong and diverse views about criminalising domestic violence and coercive control,” Ms McMurdo said.
“We want Queenslanders to tell us what’s working, what isn’t working and what needs to change.”
The discussion paper gives an overview of how Queensland’s laws currently respond to domestic and family violence, outlines the risks and benefits of introducing new legislation, and presents 13 options for legislating against coercive control.
“From the Taskforce’s perspective, no option is off the table” Ms McMurdo said.
“We’re committed to considering all the information and evidence we receive with an open mind in the best interests of the Queensland community, and welcome suggestions about other options for reform.”
The paper is the Taskforce’s first discussion paper since its establishment in March 2021 to undertake a wide-ranging review of the experience of women across the criminal justice system.
The Taskforce has already received over 260 submissions—with some experiences reflected in the discussion paper—and members will be travelling across Queensland to meet with stakeholders during the paper’s six-week consultation period.
“It’s important we gather as many views as possible,” Ms McMurdo said.
“Queenslanders can respond to the discussion paper through the taskforce website or by post.”
A separate discussion paper, to be released soon, will seek views about the aspects of women’s and girls’ experiences in the criminal justice system on which the Taskforce should focus in its final report.
Ms McMurdo continues to hold discussions with key stakeholders, including recently meeting Sue and Lloyd Clarke, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD,CVO, and Professor Boni Robertson and Mick Gooda, the co-chairs of the Queensland First Children and Families Board along with members of the Board.
*If anything in this statement has brought up concerns, contact DVConnect Womensline on 1800 811 811 (24 hours, 7 days per week), Sexual Assault Helpline on 1800 010 120 (7.30am to 11.30pm, 7 days), or Lifeline on 13 11 44 (24 hours, 7 days).