Monday, June 24, 2024

Queensland Parliament passes coercive control Bill

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 has been passed in the Queensland Parliament.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the legislation will strengthen laws to address the patterned nature of coercive control, and lay the foundation to create a standalone offence of coercive control later this year.

Coercive control is at the core of domestic and family violence,” said Ms Palaszczuk.

“It is a pattern of deliberate behaviours perpetrated against a person to create a climate of fear, isolation, intimidation and humiliation.

“I want to thank the many victim survivors and advocacy organisations, including the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation, for their tireless work to prevent coercive control and help make Queensland women safer,” she said.

The amendments will:

  • modernise and strengthen the offence of unlawful stalking in the Criminal Code to better capture the broad range of tactics used by perpetrators;
  • broaden the definition of domestic and family violence to include behaviour that occurs over time and should be considered in the context of the whole relationship;
  • strengthen the court’s response to cross applications for protection orders to ensure the protection of the person most at risk;
  • broaden the court’s ability to award costs to help prevent using the legal process to further abuse victims;
  • strengthen the consideration of previous domestic violence or criminal history;
  • bring domestic violence complainants and other witnesses within the protected witness scheme; and
  • allow for the giving of jury directions and expert evidence on domestic violence.

The amendments respond to a range of recommendations made by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

In addition to the reforms recommended by the Taskforce, the Bill will also amend the Criminal Code to modernise and update some sexual offence terminology, such as ‘carnal knowledge’ and ‘maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.’

“This is a significant step toward achieving our commitment to legislate against coercive control,” said Queensland Attorney-General, Shannon Fentiman.

“We know how dangerous these behaviours can be. As we pass the terrible anniversary of the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, I want her family and friends to know that this will be their legacy.”

“This is about identifying and responding to the red flags of coercive control earlier before blue police tape surrounds another family home.

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