Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce
The first response to a series of calls for submission from the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce (the Taskforce), this submission sets out evidence relating to the options to legislate against coercive control and the creation of a standalone domestic violence offence. The Taskforce will also review the need for a specific offence of domestic violence and the experiences of women across the criminal justice system.
ANROWS’s submission draws on rigorous, peer-reviewed evidence, including key reports from our body of research to respond to the Taskforce’s call for evidence for options outlined in Discussion Paper 1 – Options for legislation against coercive control and the creation of a standalone domestic violence offence. In particular, the submission responds to the following options outlined in the discussion paper:
- Utilising the existing legislation available in Queensland more effectively
- Amending the definition of domestic violence under the Domestic and family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)
- Creating a new standalone “coercive control” offence.
- Amending the Evidence Act 1977 (Qld) to introduce jury directions and facilitate admissibility of evidence of coercive control in similar terms to the amendments contained in the Family Violence Legislation Reform Act 2020 (WA).
The recommendations provided in this submission primarily focus on addressing how existing legislation available in Queensland could be utilised more effectively, including by:
- Educating and training police and all legal actors to understand domestic and family violence as involving patterns of behaviour which occur within the context of coercive control
- Creating a tool to help police and courts assess patterns of coercive control that would detect which party is the perpetrator and which party is using violent resistance to ongoing abuse
- Funding and facilitating strong cross-sector collaboration to provide continuous support and training to help police and courts respond to the nuances of coercive control
- Facilitating cross-sector consultation with diverse groups of women and the service providers they engage with, and carefully considering alternatives to criminal justice approaches.
Alongside these recommendations, the submission responded to several other options and made the following recommendations:
Implement a consistent definition of coercive control and of domestic and family violence across legislative and policy settings, Australia-wide.
Fund independent research to monitor the progress and implementation of coercive control and domestic abuse offences in other jurisdictions, including unintended consequences.
Legislate a social entrapment framework and training all actors in and around the legal system in domestic and family violence and coercive control.