First stage in legislating against coercive control passes Parliament

Published Wednesday, 22 February, 2023 at 05:14 PM


Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

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

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 has passed.

The legislation strengthens laws to address the patterned nature of coercive control, and lays the foundation to create a standalone offence of coercive control later this year.

The amendments will:

  • modernise and strengthen the offence of unlawful stalking in the Criminal Code to better capture the broad range of tactics used by perpetrators;
  • broaden the definition of domestic and family violence to include behaviour that occurs over time and should be considered in the context of the whole relationship;
  • strengthen the court’s response to cross applications for protection orders to ensure the protection of the person most at risk;
  • broaden the court’s ability to award costs to help prevent using the legal process to further abuse victims;
  • strengthen the consideration of previous domestic violence or criminal history;
  • bring domestic violence complainants and other witnesses within the protected witness scheme; and
  • allow for the giving of jury directions and expert evidence on domestic violence.

The amendments respond to a range of recommendations made by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

In addition to the reforms recommended by the Taskforce, the Bill will also amend the Criminal Code to modernise and update some sexual offence terminology, such as ‘carnal knowledge’ and ‘maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.’

Quotes attributable to the Premier:

Coercive control is at the core of domestic and family violence.”

“It is a pattern of deliberate behaviours perpetrated against a person to create a climate of fear, isolation, intimidation and humiliation.”

“I want to thank the many victim survivors and advocacy organisations, including the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation, for their tireless work to prevent coercive control and help make Queensland women safer.”

Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General:

“This is a significant step toward achieving our commitment to legislate against coercive control”.

“We know how dangerous these behaviours can be. As we pass the terrible anniversary of the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, I want her family and friends to know that this will be their legacy.”

“This is about identifying and responding to the red flags of coercive control earlier before blue police tape surrounds another family home.

Quotes attributable to Sue and Lloyd Clarke:

“It’s important that these behaviours are captured in modern legislation. We’ve fought for this because we know it will make a difference and it will prevent other families from having to go through an experience like ours.”

“We know from experience that the behaviour of perpetrators escalates over time. The Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation strongly urges people to recognise the red flags in their family members, their friends and even themselves and to seek help.”

Quote attributable to Women’s Legal Service Queensland CEO, Nadia Bromley:

“WLSQ welcomes this important Bill. It contains some of the many changes we need to see to improve the safety of women in Queensland. We look forward to the implementation of all the recommendations of the Hear Her Voice reports and the Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland Police Responses to Domestic and Family Violence.”


Media contact – Phoenix Campbell 0439 949 719 (Attorney-General)