Palaszczuk Government to get coercive control right

Published Sunday, 04 October, 2020 at 05:52 PM

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government will tackle coercive control in a comprehensive response to a common but often hidden form of domestic and family violence.


Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said a re-elected Palaszczuk Government would address coercive control on several fronts.


“While coercive control is mentioned in Queensland’s current domestic and family violence legislation, it is clearly insufficient,” Ms Farmer said.  


“We need to get this absolutely 100 per cent right.


“There are few governments in the world that have specifically legislated against coercive control and where they have, conviction rates are extremely low.


“Part of the reason for low conviction rates is the difficulty of proving coercive control and demonstrating intent beyond reasonable doubt. 


“Coercive control is also hard for first responders to identify without evidence-based training.”


Ms Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government’s approach would include gearing up the justice system and training for first responders to recognise coercive control.


Specialist training would also be provided for domestic violence case workers, together with a community awareness campaign.


“This is a really difficult issue, but it’s one we need to address head on,” Ms Farmer said.


“For these laws to work, our first responders and domestic violence case workers need the tools and skills to recognise a pattern of coercive control behaviour, then know when and how to step in.


“Coercive control can include isolating a partner from family and friends, monitoring their movements, or taking complete control of finances.


“Eventually, the power to make your own choices is eroded and taken away.


“Coercive control is more than just a single incident, it’s a pattern of behaviour over time and the key is knowing when to intervene.”


Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said domestic violence was unacceptable, no matter what form it takes.

“We know that hidden violence and controlling behaviour is a major problem in our community,” the Attorney-General said.

“We've seen first-hand the devastating effects of DV, and we need to stop it in its tracks.

“We must continue to do everything to stop the loss of one more life, or see one more woman get hurt.

“We're sending out a very clear message to our society, domestic and family violence is never acceptable. NOT NOW, NOT EVER.”

Ms Farmer said many people living with coercive behaviour don’t realise what they’re experiencing is actually domestic violence.


“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government will be consulting extensively with Queenslanders in the development of a new approach to coercive control,” Ms Farmer said.  


“We will be seeking a wide range of community views from survivors, domestic violence service providers, legal experts and the Domestic Violence Prevention Council.


“Coercive control needs to be examined from all perspectives.


“I don’t for one moment underestimate the complexities of defining and addressing coercive control.


“Complexity is not an excuse for not acting, we can’t and won’t tolerate any more tragedies in Queensland.


“The fact is coercive control is everybody’s business; every Queenslander has a role to play in protecting the safety of women and their children.


“The Palaszczuk Government has led the nation on tackling domestic and family violence, and we’re not afraid to lead again.”


Since 2015, the Palaszczuk Government has invested more than half-a-billion dollars to end domestic violence.


“Stopping domestic and family violence is a commitment Queensland Labor will never shy away from,” Ms Farmer said.


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