Domestic violence laws to provide better protection

NO one deserved to be abused or suffer violence, Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson said in Parliament last night in support of stronger Domestic and Family Violence Protection laws.

Ms Simpson said the new laws would allow better sharing of information between government and/or non-government agencies providing domestic and family violence services in order to assess possible risk of harm and to keep people safe.

She said that she and Shadow Minister Ros Bates had recently met with SCOPE and other local agencies in
Maroochydore who highlighted a need to share information between agencies like the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Health and the Department of Child Safety where there was a risk of harm related to domestic and family violence.

She highlighted the work of 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty who has been campaigning for more to be
done to provide victims with immediate and effective protection from domestic and family violence cultural following the tragic death of her son Luke.  

Ms Simpson said that the need for more information sharing and greater collaboration between agencies was
highlighted during the coronial inquest into Luke Batty's death.

“Victims must be better protected and supported.  Police and courts must be given better tools to help keep victims safe and perpetrators of domestic violence must be held more accountable,” Ms Simpson said.

“I support this bill as it expands the protection that can be provided by Police Protection Notices (PPNs), it introduces new information sharing provisions and enables the Queensland Police Service to make referrals to specialist DFV service providers where a serious threat is identified,” Ms Simpson said.

“Police are often the first to respond in a domestic and family violence situation and they need to be given
adequate tools where a serious threat is identified.

“The bill gives police more flexibility to issue a PPN and streamlines the administrative processes to allow police to provide victims with protection immediately and without delays.

“The bill provides great clarification for courts to make Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) when a victim
has been threatened or fears for their safety or wellbeing and requires courts to focus on the protection required by the victim in determining the appropriate duration of a Protection Order (PO).

Ms Simpson noted the support of the Women’s Legal Service Queensland and the Community Legal Centres Queensland for a requirement that Courts must give written reasons for choosing to make an order that is less than 5 years and supported the Opposition’s move for an amendment to the legislation to address this.

Ms Simpson supported the Bill’s objective to hold perpetrators of violence more accountable and to encourage
them to change their behaviour.

“Recent crime figures released for the Sunshine Coast show that DVO breaches are up a shocking 43% (Annual Statistical Review 2015-16).

“This is clearly unacceptable and we need to ensure that police are given the resources they need to address
this trend. 

“It is important that we increase the maximum penalty for breaches of PPNs and ensure there is greater
consistency with penalties imposed for breaching DVOs to hold perpetrators more accountable for their actions.”

Ms Simpson said the Domestic and Family Violence Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 built on the legislative reforms that had already been progressed as a result of the LNP government establishing the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland in 2014.

“The Taskforce released its final report, Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family
Violence in Queensland, in February 2015 with 140 recommendations designed to set a new direction for a strategy to stop domestic and family violence in Queensland, including a full review of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.”

Ms Simpson said the Bill amended the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 to implement the outcomes of the review recommended by the special task force and to enable Queensland to participate in the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme, which has been agreed by COAG for the automatic recognition of
DVOs across Australia and New Zealand. 

It also provided for recognised interstate orders to be enforced in the same way as local orders to enable information to be exchanged between issuing authorities and interstate law enforcement agencies to help better protect victims and their families, hold perpetrators to account for their actions and support integrated responses. 

CONTACT FIONA


Phone: 07 5406 7100

Suite 1, Corner First & Memorial Aves
Maroochydore QLD 4558