Tougher penalties for domestic violence to come: Palaszczuk

CRIMINAL penalties for domestic and family violence will increase in Queensland to show a relationship is an aggravating factor in sentencing.

The Queensland Government will also work with principals, teachers and school communities to teach children about healthy, respectful relationships.

This was one goal Australian Regional Media, the publisher of this website, had worked towards during its Terror at Home campaign this year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday morning that these were among 140 recommendations from Quentin Bryce's Not Now, Not Ever report into domestic and family violence.

She said:

"The time is right for action and I believe the community has the will to change."

"We will now work with Queensland across the state to bring about a shift in our attitudes towards domestic and family violence, as well as providing the legal framework to help victims."

Ms Palaszczuk said her government would push for a cultural shift within the police service through appointing Deputy Commissioner of regional operations Brett Pointing as the the champion of best practice in prevention and first response.

"Domestic and family violence is such a breach of trust that it deserves a higher penalty and the criminal code will be changed to reflect this," she said.

"We'll trial a new, integrated response system in three locations across Queensland, one urban, one regional, and one Indigenous, to find the best way to deliver seamless help for victims and their families."

All 121 of the government recommendations have been accepted. The 19 non-government recommendations will be actively supported.

If you or anyone you know needs help, contact DV Connect on 1800 811 811.


The Palaszczuk Government's response will include:

* Changes to criminal law: Introducing a circumstance of aggravation of domestic and family violence to be applied to all criminal offences where family and domestic violence has occurred. Consider making non-lethal strangulation a criminal offence.

* Education programs: The Government will develop resources to support primary and secondary state schools in promoting respectful relationships, gender equality, reporting fears and concerns safely and assisting students in identifying and responding safely to violence and abuse. 
The Government will work with and share resources and advice with the non-state school sector.

* An integrated response model tested to deliver seamless help for victims to be piloted in one urban, one regional and one discrete Indigenous community

* The introduction of additional paid domestic violence leave and ensuring protection from unfair dismissal for public sector workers who are victims of domestic and family violence. Working with local and federal Governments and the private sector to urge them to adopt similar policies.

* Working with the health sector to ensure more widespread best practice among GPs and midwives when dealing with domestic and family violence.

* $3 million towards a national awareness campaign to reduce violence against women and their children.

* Information sharing: Reducing the barriers to information sharing between agencies to ensure more effective responses and support for victims.

* Shelters: $8 million over two years to establish dedicated 72-hour crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville, and a further $11.9 million over four years to operate the shelters.

* Perpetrator programs: More widespread availability of perpetrator intervention initiatives.

* Specialist court: The trial of a specialist Domestic and Family Violence Magistrates Court with a dedicated magistrate to commence in Southport in September.

* Police response: Operational policies will be revised to prioritise victim safety and the QPS has reinstated a State Domestic and Family Violence Coordinator to work with district coordinators to drive direction and policy.

* Legal Support: Funding of $1.1 million in this financial year to expand the Domestic Violence Duty Lawyer Service to 14 locations through Legal Aid Queensland. 


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