Police given more power to protect victims of domestic and family violence
Published Thursday, 03 August, 2017 at 09:30 AM
Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
The number of Police-issued orders to protect women and children from Domestic and Family Violence has almost tripled.
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said legislation came in to effect in May 2017 giving Police increased powers to keep vulnerable women and children safe.
“Police on the scene can now provide immediate legal protection for victims of Domestic Violence even if a perpetrator is not present, which was not possible before the changes took effect,” Ms Fentiman said.
“And for the first time ever Police can extend that protection to children.
“During consultation on the legislation Police told us they wanted the power to provide this immediate protection, and we acted.”
Police Protection Orders provide immediate legal protection for a victim and their family until a court can determine whether a Domestic Violence Order is required.
“I’m proud this government has backed our Police by making these important changes to ensure more women and children are safe in their own homes.”
According to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, 61 per cent of women affected by Domestic Violence have children in their care at the time.
Ms Fentiman said that in 2016-17 more than 1970 Police Protection Notices were issued across the state, compared to 754 in 2015-16.
“Across Queensland 1185 notices were issued in the first month of these changes being in effect. This is a significant increase. The number of notices issued in this one month period represents almost 60 per cent of the total number of notices issued in 2016-17,” she said.
“This tells us police are using these notices more often to keep women and children safe and the changes we have made have strengthened the protection police can put in place when called to domestic violence incidents.
“The changes enable police officers to tailor the notice to meet a victim’s needs by including additional conditions, and for the first time police are able to protect children by naming them in the notice.
“We know the most dangerous time for a woman fleeing domestic and family violence is when she makes the brave decision to leave.
“Expanding the protection police can provide by issuing Police Protection Notices on the spot is vital.
“We need to continue to bring domestic and family violence out from behind closed doors and provide women and children with the help they need to stay safe.”
Ms Fentiman said hard-working police officers were often the first to respond to domestic violence situations.
Ms Fentiman said she was looking forward to seeing the ongoing impact of these changes across Queensland.
“Police right across our state, work hard every single day to ensure all Queenslanders are safe,” she said.
“They work closely with other agencies and government departments who are all trying to tackle domestic and family violence in our society.
“Domestic and family violence is completely unacceptable, and by providing police with these expanded powers to issue Police Protection Notices we are sending a clear message to perpetrators that we will not tolerate their behaviour.”
Media Contact: Ron Goodman 0427 781 920