Strangulation to be a stand-alone offence under Queensland’s Criminal Code

Published Tuesday, 19 April, 2016 at 05:46 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

The Palaszczuk Government has today passed landmark laws to make non-fatal strangulation a separate offence under the Criminal Code, in a further move to strengthen Queensland’s response to domestic and family violence.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the creation of the new offence of strangulation was a recommendation of the Special Taskforce on Domestic Violence report Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic Violence in Queensland.

“Choking, strangling or suffocating a person is now an offence in its own right with a maximum penalty of seven years jail,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has listened to the concerns of the community and we are taking action on the recommendations made by the Not Now, Not Ever report.

“Recognising that strangulation is a serious crime in its own right will serve to strengthen our response to this type of violence within the criminal justice system.”

Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government also passed amendments to the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 to make domestic violence an aggravating factor on sentence.

“This will require judicial officers to consider the context in which domestic violence offences occur, and in doing so, consider imposing a higher sentence that is within the usual range but not above the maximum penalty,” Mrs D’Ath said.

She said the Bill would also reinstate the ability of a court to receive submissions from the prosecutor and defence on the appropriate sentence or range of sentences that should be imposed.

“This will return proceedings to the situation that existed prior to the 2014 High Court decision in Barbaro & Zirilli v The Queen and will improve consistency in sentencing, as well as assist in the efficient running of courtrooms,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the Palaszczuk Government has accepted all 121 recommendations for government action contained within the Not Now, Not Ever report.

“We know strangulation is a pivotal moment that reveals an escalation in the seriousness of the violence committed against a person in the context of domestic and family violence,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The offence of strangulation is an important part of the package of legislative amendments the government is implementing to tackle domestic violence.

“These important legislative changes will support the safety and security of victims of domestic and family violence while we embark on a broader education and awareness campaign to drive real change on the terrible burden of domestic violence in our community.”

Media contacts:

Minister D’Ath 0417 272 875

Minister Fentiman 0404 475 088