Legislation to strengthen response to coercive control introduced into Parliament

Published Friday, 14 October, 2022 at 12:13 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The first round of legislative reforms to strengthen Queensland’s response to coercive control have been introduced into Parliament today.

Attorney-General, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Shannon Fentiman said today Queensland takes the first significant step in combating non-physical forms of domestic violence.

“These important reforms lay the foundation for the passage of a standalone offence of coercive control next year.

“This Bill makes a number of amendments to further shift our approach to domestic and family violence to focus on the dangerous patterns of abusive behaviour which over time,” Minister Fentiman said.

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 will strengthen laws to address the patterned nature of coercive control, and limit the ability of perpetrators to further traumatise victims during the court process.

The Bill proposes amendments to relevant legislation to:

  • modernise and strengthen the definition of stalking in the Criminal Code;
  • broaden the definition of domestic and family violence to refer to a ‘pattern of behaviour’;
  • strengthen the court’s response to cross application for protection orders, to ensure the person most at risk is being protected;
  • strengthen the court’s consideration of previous domestic violence history.

The Bill directly addresses several key recommendations by the Women Safety and Justice Taskforce first report, Hear Her Voice. To support this important work, the Palaszczuk Government has already announced a $363 million package of reforms.

 “The Taskforce stated very clearly that system-wide reform was needed before any new coercive control offence came into effect.

“These laws pave the way for the introduction of a Bill to establish a criminal offence of coercive control before the end of 2023,” Minister Fentiman said.

In addition to the reforms recommended by the Taskforce, the Bill will also amend the Criminal Code to modernise and update certain sexual offence terminology.

Specifically, it replaces the term ‘carnal knowledge’ and changes the title of the offence ‘Maintaining a sexual relationship with a child’ to ‘Repeated sexual conduct with a child.’

These reforms were developed following targeted consultation with domestic, family and sexual violence stakeholders, as well as the legal profession.

The Bill will be referred to the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee for review.

Media contact: Clare Barnes 0497 829 747