798 people charged in first 12 months of new domestic violence offence

Published Sunday, 07 May, 2017 at 08:27 AM

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

A total 798 people have been charged with strangulation offences in the past 12 months, in the first year non-fatal strangulation has been an offence under Queensland’s Criminal Code.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government passed laws creating the specific offence in April last year, as one of a suite of legal reforms made in response to the Not Now, Not Ever report on domestic violence.

“Already, in just the first 12 months of it being an offence, we’re seeing that this law will be vital to holding perpetrators to account,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“I think it’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean more cases, rather that we’re able to identify the specific nature of the assault, and that people feel more able to come forward.

“We introduced this legislation because strangulation is known to be an important indicator of escalating domestic violence.

“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.

A total 894 charges of strangulation have been laid against 798 defendants.

There have also been 16,303 charges lodged since 1 December 2015 using ancillary wording of “domestic violence offence” on charge titles indicating the offences were in a domestic violence context.

And in the past 12 months there have also been 409 applications granted to have previous convictions declared a Domestic Violence offence, in another key plank of the Palaszczuk Government’s suite of legal reforms, to ensure sentencing judges have a full grasp of a person’s criminal history.

The Palaszczuk Government also introduced legislation making domestic violence an aggravating factor in sentencing, meaning judges must take the context of the assaults into account when assessing a case.

“These important legislative changes are holding perpetrators to account in the short-term, as the community embarks on a broader long-term cultural shift in attitudes on domestic and family violence,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“It is early days, and many of these charges have been laid quite recently, but we hope this sends a clear message to perpetrators that domestic and family violence is not tolerated in our society.”


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