Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Impacts of domestic violence: Bryce taskforce

The Bryce task force set out the impacts of domestic and family violence:

At the extreme end of domestic and family violence is homicide. The National Homicide Monitoring Program reported that, between 2010-11 and 2011-12, 39%, or 187 of the 479 homicides in Australia, were domestic homicides, with 58% of these being intimate partner homicides.35 Nearly two-thirds of domestic homicides were women (n = 121, 62%). Overall, 76% of all female homicide victims killed throughout 2010-11 and 2011–12 were killed by an offender with whom they shared an intimate partner relationship, while a greater number of male homicide victims were killed by a friend or an acquaintance (81%).36
In Queensland, the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit reports that approximately 45% of all homicides between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2012 occurred within an intimate partner or family relationship.37 Factoring in multiple homicides, a total of 167 offenders were responsible for these deaths. Of these, 82.03% (n=137) were male, 15.57% were female (n=26) and 2.4% (n=4) of the incidents involved both a female and male offender.
During this time period, 56.67% (n=102) of deaths occurred within an intimate partner relationship. This includes people who were married, in a de-facto relationship, people who had a child together, or who resided together as a couple. This category also covers people engaged to be married as well as couples that were separated or divorced.
Of the total number of domestic and family violence related deaths, women were more likely to be killed in an intimate partner relationship, whereas men had a higher propensity to be killed within a family relationship. Of the total number of deceased killed within an intimate partner relationship, 79.41% (n=81) were female and 20.59% (n=21) were male. Three deceased males were killed by their male intimate partner whereas all female deceased were killed by a current or former male partner.
The Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit defines family relationships as those between people who are related either biologically or through marriage including parents, children, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or nephews. Between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2013, 38.89% (n=70) of deaths occurred within a family relationship. Of the total number of people killed within this type of relationship, 42.86% (n=30) were female and 57.14% (n=40) were male.
page82image19720 page82image19880

Health impacts
Domestic and family violence has significant, and often long-term, impacts on health and wellbeing. Internationally, the World Health Organisation’s 2013 report on the prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence found that violence against women is pervasive globally, describing it as “a global public health problem of epidemic proportions, requiring urgent action”.38
In Australia, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation researched the health burden of intimate partner violence in Victoria. It found this type of violence contributes to 9% of the total disease burden of women aged 15 to 44 years. Of this total disease burden, 60% was due to mental health problems. Intimate partner violence was the leading contributor to illness, disability,
and premature death for this group, over and above other known risk factors of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and illicit drug use.39
Family violence has a significant impact on the short and long-term health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities. The Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators 2014 Report revealed that in 2012-13, after adjusting for different population age structures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospitalisations for non- fatal family violence-related assaults for females were 34.2 times the rate for non-Indigenous females and for Indigenous males were 28.3 times higher the rate for non-Indigenous males.40
It is estimated that more than one million Australian children are affected by domestic and family violence.41 Children are affected by both the direct and indirect experiences of violence in a range of ways: through hearing or otherwise witnessing the violence; being used as a physical weapon; being forced to watch or participate in assaults; being forced to spy on a parent; being informed that they are to blame for the violence because of their behaviour; being used as a hostage; defending a parent against the violence; and/or intervening to stop the violence.42
Children can suffer serious negative impacts on their emotional wellbeing, health, ability to learn and ability to develop positive relationships with others. Psychological and behavioural impacts have been documented:
  • »  Depression
  • »  Anxiety
  • »  Trauma symptoms
  • »  Increased aggression
  • »  Antisocial behaviour
  • »  Lower social competence
  • »  Temperament problems
  • »  Low self-esteem
» The presence of pervasive fear » Mood problems
» Loneliness
» School difficulties
» Peer conflict
» Impaired cognitive functioning
» Increased likelihood of substance abuse.43
Domestic and family violence is the major cause of homelessness in Australia.44 The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Specialist Homelessness Services Annual Report 2013-2014 collected data found that an estimated 84,774 adults and children (33% of all clients) sought assistance as a result of family or domestic violence. This was an increase of 9% from 2012-13, including an increase of 14% in the number of children experiencing family or domestic violence. The highest proportion of clients requesting assistance for domestic and family violence were living as a single parent household (with a child or children) (46%) and at risk of homelessness when first presenting for support (60%).45
Indigenous people represented 23% of those accessing specialist homelessness services in 2013-14.46 Among Indigenous people who sought Specialist Homelessness Services, 22% reported domestic and family violence as their main reason for seeking assistance.47
Economic impacts
In 2012, KPMG estimated violence against women and their children cost $USD 14.7 billion or roughly 1.1% of Australia’s GDP, based on the prevalence of reported violence.48
The Queensland Government estimates that the annual cost of domestic and family violence to the Queensland economy is between $2.7 and $3.2 billion.49
In 2009, KPMG prepared a report for the Commonwealth Government that set out the costs, both financial and non-financial, that would be incurred by doing nothing to reduce or prevent violence against women and their children. The report set out seven cost categories including:
  1. Pain, suffering, and premature mortality costs associated with the victims/survivors experience of violence
  2. Health costs, including public and private health system costs associated with treating the effects of violence against women
  3. Production-related costs, including the cost of being absent from work, and employer administrative costs (for example, employee replacement)
  4. Consumption-related costs, including replacing damaged property, defaulting on bad debts, and the costs of moving
  5. Second generation costs which are the costs of children witnessing and living with violence, including child protection services and increased juvenile and adult crime
  6. Administrative and other costs, including police, incarceration, court system costs, counselling, and violence prevention programs
  7. Transfer costs, which are the inefficiencies associated with the payment of government benefits.50 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Defining domestic and family violence: Bryce report

The Bryce report provides an excellent discussion of what is domestic violence and family violence:

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, occurs in a variety of forms including physical, emotional, and economic violence within any type of relationship against any person.
Domestic violence presents a unique definition challenge, as it encompasses a broad range of behaviours. Domestic violence can occur within any form of relationship, towards any person, at any time, regardless of personal, cultural, or economic standing.
In Queensland, the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (the Act) provides the legal instrument to respond to domestic and family violence. The Act covers:
  • »  People who are in a relevant relationship, which includes intimate personal relationships (married and de facto spouses, parents of a child, engaged and couple relationships, including same sex couples)
  • »  Family relationships (adult relatives by blood or marriage, including extended or kinship relationships where a person is regarded as a relative)
  • »  Informal care relationships (where the carer is unpaid).
    The Act defines the conduct of domestic violence as including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and economic abuse or any other threatening, coercive, or controlling behaviour which causes the victim to fear for their safety or wellbeing or that of someone else. Examples of this type of behaviour include:
  • »  Causing physical injury
  • »  Threatening physical injury or death whether towards the primary victim or others,
    including pets
  • »  Coercing or forcing the victim to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so
  • »  Threatening to, or depriving a person of, their liberty
  • »  Damaging a person’s property or threatening to do so
  • »  The perpetrator threatening to self-harm or suicide for the purpose of tormenting, intimidating or frightening the person to whom the behaviour is directed
  • »  Conducting unauthorised surveillance of the victim (may include following or tracking the victim, monitoring telephone calls, text messages or email) or unlawfully stalking the victim
  • »  Controlling or withholding the family assets and income which denies the victim economic or financial autonomy or the ability to pay the reasonable living expenses for the family
  • »  Tormenting, intimidating or harassing the victim (may include repeatedly following or contacting the victim without consent, derogatory taunts, withholding medication, disclosing the victim’s sexual orientation without consent).
Australian jurisdictions  do not share an agreed definition of “domestic violence”, “intimate partner violence”, “family violence” or a similar relevant term. Regardless, all agree that this violence
can take forms other than physical abuse. Figure 4 provides one definition of the broad range of activities that constitute domestic and family violence. Similar to the Queensland legislation these are: physical, verbal, social, economic, psychological, cultural/spiritual, sexual and emotional.

Many practitioners, policy-makers and researchers support a contemporary understanding of domestic violence which acknowledges forms of abuse characterised by the following elements:
  • »  Parties are in, or have been in, an intimate partner relationship
  • »  There is an ongoing pattern of behaviour rather than a “one-off” or situational event
  • »  The purpose of the violence is for one person in the relationship to maintain power and control over the other person
  • »  It creates fear
  • »  A range of tactics are employed
  • »  Behaviour can be both criminal and non-criminal.
    Quiz me about where I was going and what I was doing. Send 20- 40 text messages to me while he was at work. He even put the “Find my iPhone” App on my phone so he could track my every move... He plays mind games and manipulates me to a point where I think I am going crazy.
    from a contributor to the Taskforce
    Intimate partner sexual violence presents a specific form of domestic abuse which occurs between two individuals in an intimate partner relationship. Intimate partner sexual violence is not limited to male and female intimate partner relationships and is evident across the spectrum of intimate relationships. It can be defined as unwanted sexual contact or activity by an intimate partner for the purpose of controlling an individual through fear, threats, or violence. Intimate partner sexual violence includes comparable behaviours to domestic violence and can be a component of physical domestic violence or a stand-alone offence.
    The consequences for victims of intimate partner sexual violence require a different understanding than victims of physical domestic violence and/or sexual assault. The trauma experienced by intimate partner sexual violence victims may present a more complex range of issues than traditional sexual assault due to a combination of both sexual and domestic violence elements.14 Issues unique to intimate partner sexual violence victims include:
  • »  Longer-lasting trauma: Research reveals that the trauma can be longer lasting. Significant reasons for this are a lack of recognition and an inability to share the pain15
  • »  Higher levels of physical injury: If we accept that generally most rapes are not physically violent, those that do involve injury are likely to be partner rapes16
  • »  The incidence of multiple rape: Although intimate partner sexual violence can be a one off, survivors of intimate partner sexual violence suffer the highest frequency of multiple rapes17
  • »  Difficulty defining the act/s as sexual assault: Society is socialized to see rape as involving non-consensual sex between two strangers. Additionally, there may be reluctance to define a partner as a “rapist.”18

Family violence is a broader term most often referring to violence between family members as well as violence between intimate partners. It involves the same behaviours as domestic violence. In the Australian context, family violence is the most widely accepted term used to acknowledge the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it encapsulates the violence which occurs within a broad range of kinship relationships.
Defining domestic and family violence has significant implications for how the criminal justice system, including police and courts, the human services sector, and the broader community recognise, understand, and respond to this very serious and complex social issue. While any act of violence is unacceptable, giving the term too broad an application risks diminishing the insidiousness of the conduct.
Commonly held understandings of domestic and family violence often assume acts of physical violence within a relationship and in the home; however domestic and family violence is much more complex. In an abusive relationship, the victim may be subject to one or more forms of violence or corrective control which may be it physical, sexual or non-physical.
Non-physical forms of domestic and family violence include verbal abuse, social isolation, economic abuse, psychological abuse, and even use of spiritual or cultural beliefs to justify violent or abusive behaviour or to force victims into subordinate roles. The central element of the behaviour is that it involves an ongoing pattern aimed at controlling the subject of the violence through fear, and use by the perpetrator of a range of tactics to exercise power and control.

Monday, 16 March 2015

The history of domestic violence reforms in Queensland: Bryce report

Quentin Bryce's task force sets out a good history of how domestic violence has been tackled in Queensland (and Australia):

Domestic violence is not new. It spans history, countries, and cultures, and has profound impacts on individuals and communities. However, its recognition as a matter of public interest is a relatively modern concept.
It is only a few decades ago that issues of child abuse and ‘wife beating’ were acknowledged but not openly or properly addressed as serious social problems. Societal change during the 1960s and 1970s brought these issues to the forefront. This resulted primarily in the establishment of women’s refuges and courts which became increasingly willing to consider expert evidence about how women were affected by sustained domestic abuse in homicide cases.1
Despite these changes, domestic violence was still considered a social issue and police responses, particularly in the United States of America (USA), remained focused on providing crisis intervention and referral, ignoring the use of criminal law to deal with the problem.2 It was not until the 1970s and 1980s that activism by women’s groups placed policing and the use of criminal sanctions, in response to domestic violence on the social and political agenda. Australia also began to explore the problem of domestic violence and whether the available legislation effectively dealt with violence that occurred in the home, and whether it provided appropriate protection for victims of domestic violence.3
Unlike the USA, the absolute criminalisation of domestic violence has not been the centrepiece of Australian responses to domestic violence.4 Instead, civil protection order schemes enacted across most jurisdictions since the 1980s feature heavily in Australian legislation.5 Such civil protections are, however, expected to operate in conjunction with criminal law6 and in this way, the Australian approach was intended to provide better protection to victims than that provided by criminal law alone.7
The first Queensland Domestic Violence Taskforce was established in 1988 and recommended the introduction of stand-alone domestic violence legislation in Queensland. When debating legislation introduced to the Queensland Parliament in 1989 to respond to the issue of domestic violence, the then Minister for Family Services noted:8
Whilst attitudes cannot be changed overnight, through this Bill, the government is ensuring that the law contains effective remedies which offer protection to victims of domestic violence, with clear consequences for those who persist in inflicting this misery on their spouses. When police investigate cases of domestic violence and there is sufficient evidence, criminal charges should be laid against the offender. However whilst the criminal law, which is directed to the punishment of past unlawful acts has some deterrent effect, the Bill will afford victims of domestic violence with specific protection from further violence.
The Hon. Craig Sherrin, Minister for Family Services, Hansard, (15 March 1989)

The Domestic Violence (Family Protection) Act 1989 provided, for the first time, separate legislation for the protection of spousal victims of domestic violence.9 Parliamentary debate at the time focused on a number of key issues including: that domestic violence is a pervasive but underreported crime; the need to challenge traditionally held views that women are the property of their husbands and that provocation is an excuse for violence; the desire to acknowledge
the impact of domestic violence on women, children, and communities; and the need for
government to act in order to more effectively protect victims from further abuse.
Violent husbands are not referred to as criminals, as they should be, having committed a criminal assault upon their wives. They are referred to more euphemistically as errant husbands. It is that very perception of the crime that has posed so much of a problem for its incidence to be reduced.
Ms Anne Warner, Member for South Brisbane10, Hansard, (11 April 1989)
It is hard to imagine that that sort of violence and abusive behaviour are a daily occurrence in family homes throughout this state. Our views about the essence of marriage as a loving partnership are affronted when we learn of violence behind closed doors and realise that children are witnessing that violence...As a responsible community, we simply cannot turn a blind eye to this violence.
Mrs Diane McCauley, Member for Callide11, Hansard, (11 April 1989)
The Domestic Violence (Family Protection) Act 1989 came into effect on 21 August 1989 with the endorsement of all three major political parties in Queensland at the time (Liberal, Labour and The Nationals). It was one component of a broader strategy to respond to domestic violence
as a “serious blight on Queenslanders”
12 including: the provision of intensive training programs for the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and members of the judiciary; the establishment of the Queensland Domestic Violence Council responsible for monitoring implementation and operation of the legislation; and a domestic violence awareness campaign.

Since 1989, numerous amendments have been made to the Act, including:
  • »  Broadening its scope to include people in both spousal (including same-sex relationships) and non-spousal (people in intimate personal relationships, family relationships or informal care relationships) relationships (1999 amendment Act and 2002 amendment Act)
  • »  Extending protection to relatives and associates of the aggrieved spouse (1992 amendment Act)
  • »  Extending the duration of a domestic violence order from a maximum of 12 months to two years or longer where special circumstances apply (1992 amendment Act)
  • »  Enabling the registration and enforcement of orders made in other parts of Australia or New Zealand (1992 amendment Act)
  • »  Requiring the court to take into account any history or future risk of family violence affecting a child when determining what is in the best interests of the child (1999 amendment Act).13
    The most recent major amendments resulted in the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012. These changes are intended to provide a broader and more contemporary definition of what constitutes domestic and family violence, to provide greater protections for victims, and to increase penalties for offenders.
    Legislative amendments were often accompanied by a range of social services including shelters for women and children; regional domestic and family violence services; dedicated phone services; an awareness-raising Domestic and Family Violence Month; and an advisory council. Unfortunately, the emphasis on providing a holistic response to domestic and family violence, including both legislative and community-based initiatives has diminished in Queensland. We are now the only Australian jurisdiction without a current domestic and family violence strategy.
    Recent media coverage has served to re-invigorate community interest in domestic and family violence. Correspondingly, efforts are being ramped up across Australia to review existing responses and strengthen their effectiveness in putting an end to domestic and family violence. The statistics and stories from Queenslanders received as part of this review show that there is clear momentum to redouble our efforts and build on what we have learnt from past experience. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The gendered nature of domestic violence: Bryce task force

I have been in the unfortunate position of acting for all kinds of people who have been subjected to domestic and family violence:

  • Mothers from their children
  • Family members from other family members
  • Women who have been subject to domestic violence from male or female partners
  • Men who have been subject to domestic violence from male or female partners
  • A transgender client who was subject to domestic violence from her female partner.
The Bryce taskforce tackles head on the myth that domestic violence happens at the same rate from women to men, as it does from men to women. Some men's rights activists have long held that the rate is the same. Women domestic violence activists, on the other hand, have said that the rate is disproportionately one way. The Bryce task force agreed withe latter, although pointing that domestic violence can happen by women to men.

The Taskforce stated:

Domestic and family violence can affect any person regardless of gender, age, socio-economic status, or cultural background. While both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence, it is important to acknowledge that the rate of domestic and family violence perpetrated against women is significantly higher than it is against men.
In terms of perpetration of domestic and family violence generally, the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 personal safety survey identifies that:19
One in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner, compared to one in 19 Australian men
One in five women have experienced sexual abuse compared to one in 22 Australian men
One in four Australian women have experienced emotional abuse from a current or former partner, compared to one in seven Australian men.
Statistics from the Office of the State Coroner show that where the perpetration of domestic and family violence results in death, a woman is more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than a man. Of the 102 deaths occurring between 2006 and 2013 identified as being related to domestic and family violence within an intimate partner relationship, 81 (79%) involved a female victim.20
Severity of violence is often used as a key measure to understand the gendered nature of domestic and family violence. In 2004 VicHealth reported that, “...intimate partner violence is responsible for more ill-health and premature death in Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other of the well-known risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking”.21 Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence than any other Australian women.22
The violence would consist of him punching me, spitting on me, choking me, depriving me of sleep and threatening others would kill or rape me. I was often left bruised with multiple contusions, black eyes, pain, on occasion concussion and living in great fear for my life...
from a contributor to the Taskforce

Recognising the disproportionate rate of domestic and family violence on women enables the nature of the problem to be correctly characterised. It will allow for the development of targeted prevention and intervention strategies that address the specific needs of the victims of domestic and family violence. Further it will enable more accurate resource allocation and the provision and appropriateness of support services.
Having said this, it is imperative that a Queensland Domestic And Family Violence Prevention Strategy be inclusive, in terms of acknowledging that domestic and family violence is perpetrated by both genders within a range of intimate and non-intimate relationships. Violence within any relationship is deplorable and not to be tolerated under any circumstances. The Queensland strategy to combat violence will reflect the importance of prevailing gender statistics but will be fundamentally underscored by the desire to prevent violence against all people in all forms of relationships.
In terms of perpetration of domestic and family violence generally, current Queensland data identifies:
  • »  That between September 2013 and September 2014, 15,656 protection orders identified the aggrieved person as female as opposed to 4,486 males23
  • »  Adult male offenders committed 12,503 domestic and family violence breach offences in the 2013-14 financial year, representing 87% of total offences reported to QPS.24
    In the 2013-14 financial year 22,393 client intakes were recorded for the DVConnect Womensline. Of men assisted by DVConnect Mensline, 45% (3,401) identified as perpetrators of domestic and family violence and 11% (831) identified as victims of domestic and family violence.25
    Of respondents to the Taskforce: Domestic and Family Violence Survey (Appendix 3), 69% believed that both men and women, but mainly men commit domestic and family violence.26

2.4 Prevalence of domestic and family violence
Domestic and family violence occurs across our nation at disturbing and horrific rates. It is difficult, however, to provide accurate figures about its true extent given the often private nature of violence, the nature of the relationships involved, the range of behaviours that are covered and the fact it is often not reported.27
This is because victims of violence within an intimate relationship are less likely to perceive the behaviour as a crime, or may not report the incident because of shame or embarrassment, fear of the perpetrator, or the consequences of reporting the incident.28
A Queensland-wide study in 2011 found that 13.1% of Queensland women in a current, co- habiting, heterosexual intimate partner relationship had been physically assaulted, and 33% had been subjected to non-physical abuse by their current partner.29
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2012 personal safety survey collected detailed information from 17,050 men and women aged 18 years and over about their experience of violence since the age of 15. The survey found that:30
Women were more likely to have experienced violence by a known person, and the most likely type of known perpetrator was a previous partner
Men were more likely to have experienced violence by a stranger, and the most likely type of known perpetrator was an acquaintance or a neighbour

One in six women and one in 19 men had experienced physical
or sexual violence from a current or former partner since the age of 15

One in four women and one in seven men are estimated to have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15


The survey results also highlighted the reluctance of people to report partner violence.31 An estimated 80% of women and 95% of men never contact the police about violence by their current partner. Of those who experienced violence from their current partner, 54% of men and 26% of women had never told anyone. People were more likely to tell people about violence from a previous partner. An estimated 52% of men and 76% of women who experienced violence from previous partners had sought advice or support. Of women who had experienced violence from previous partners, 56% had sought advice from a friend or family member.
In Queensland, reported incidents of domestic and family violence have been increasing (Figure 5). QPS recorded 66,016 domestic and family violence occurrences in 2013-14, an increase of 2.7% from the previous year.32 In the same period more than 24,000 private and police initiated applications for a protection order were filed in Queensland courts, with 14,579 contravention (breach) offences recorded by the QPS.33
DVConnect is the 24/7 state-wide crisis telephone response service for people experiencing domestic and family violence. DVConnect Womensline received 53,313 calls in 2013/14
(an increase from 48,544 in 2012/13) and assisted more than 9,000 women and children to immediate safety throughout the state (an increase from over 8,000 in 2012/13).

Quentin Bryce's domestic violence report is a once in a generation inspiration

The sad reality is that it appears that domestic violence has been increasing, despite a generation of laws and practices aimed at ending it. In Queensland, the former National party government in 1988 that commissioned a report that set the scene for the State's strategy for tackling domestic violence: Beyond These Walls. This excellent report set the scene for legislative, governmental and societal responses to domestic violence.

Since then, governments of both persuasions have continued to tackle domestic violence, by legislative and administrative measures. These included:

  • legislation to include seniors, those subject to informal care (such as Aids patients), family members, and people in LGBTI relationships.
  • administrative changes to recognise these legislative changes, including the terms of funding agreements for domestic violence services.
  • legislation, based on my lobbying, to ensure that children were not witnesses in their parents' domestic violence court cases.
  • Police reliance on statistics and other measures to tackle and reduce rates of domestic violence.
By 2012 new, comprehensive domestic violence legislation was enacted in Queensland, the last legislative act of the Bligh government. The Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Act 2012 is comprehensive legislation tackling domestic violence. It has made it easier to obtain protection orders, as well as thoroughly tackling domestic violence head on.

Sadly, it's not been enough. We continue to have women murdered, and after it happened everyone is shocked and wonders what happened, and how it could be avoided. Alison Baden-Clay's death is the most prominent example.

Faced withe the continued rise of domestic violence, the Newman government put together a task force to tackle domestic violence, headed by former lawyer and domestic violence advocate (and Governor-General) Dame Quentin Bryce, and within its members renowned domestic violence researcher Heather Nancarrow.

The report presented by the committee is an inspiration. The length and comprehensive nature of the recommendations speak for themselves:

This Taskforce recommends that:
The Queensland Government develops a Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy which:
  1. Is developed through a robust community consultative process
  2. Lays the foundations and creates the building blocks for a Queensland that is free from violence and abuse, and where all Queenslanders act, as individuals and as a collective whole, to place social equality and human rights at the centre of our relationships and interactions with each other
  3. Includes a robust implementation plan
  4. Includes a comprehensive evaluation framework.
The Queensland Government develops an implementation plan for the recommendations in this Report and the forthcoming Strategy, which includes robust, transparent and accountable oversight, effective evaluation, research and evidence gathering principles, and the flexibility to improve on actions and initiatives.
The Queensland Government establishes and supports an advocacy and audit oversight body, comprising representatives drawn from key sectors from the Queensland community (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation) and with an independent chair. The oversight body should:
  1. Be given the role to audit and undertake advocacy for the implementation of the recommendations of this Report and the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 
  2. Be required to report to the Premier, initially six monthly, on implementation progress and the performance of the sectors taking action to eliminate domestic and family violence. The frequency of reporting should be reviewed after 12 months from finalisation ofthe Strategy.

(4) The Premier of Queensland tables the oversight body’s reports in the Queensland Parliament.
The Queensland Government develops a detailed evaluation framework to evaluate implementation of the Taskforce’s recommendations and as part of the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy and which allows for the assessment of:
  1. The impact of the reform overall in terms of driving change
  2. The specific impact of key initiatives to be progressed under the recommendations and
The Queensland Government immediately considers an appropriate resourcing model for the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit in the Office of the State Coroner to ensure it can best perform its functions to enable policy makers to better understand and prevent domestic and family violence.
Protocols be developed with the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit to ensure that government departments with relevant policy development responsibilities have access to the research and resources available from the Unit.
In consultation with key domestic violence stakeholders, the Queensland Government immediately establishes an independent Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Board, consisting of multi-disciplinary experts, to:
  1. Identify common systemic failures, gaps or issues and make recommendations to improve systems, practices and procedures
  2. Report to the oversight body every six months on these findings and recommendations
  3. Be supported by and draw upon the information and resources of the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit.
the Strategy in terms of improving outcomes.

Laying the foundations: Building a framework to protecting at-risk Queenslanders
The Taskforce recommends that:
The Queensland Government, in collaboration with local communities, develops a place-based, culturally appropriate integrated response to domestic and family violence in discrete Indigenous communities which includes:
  1. A trial of integrated service provision in one discrete Indigenous community (also discussed in Chapter 7) utilising a locally-based shelter as a hub for the provision of wrap- around support services for women and children affected by domestic and family violence
  2. Considering an expanded role of Community Justice Groups in design and implementation of the co-located service response, ensuring that they are properly resourced and supported to undertake this role
  3. Increasing the funding for, and availability of community-driven and holistic responses to Indigenous male perpetrators.
The Queensland Government commissions a review to address the impact of domestic and family violence on people with disabilities.
The Queensland Government commissions a specific review into the prevalence and characteristics of elder abuse in Queensland to inform development of integrated responses (see Chapter 7) and a communications strategy for elderly victims of domestic and family violence (see Chapter 6).
The Queensland Government includes specific elements in the communication strategy (see Recommendation 18) that target elder abuse, and where to go for support.
The Queensland Government makes representations to the Commonwealth Government to consider reforms to the funding of carers that continue to support the invaluable care that most carers provide but remove capacity for the payments to be used as a tool for financial control and domestic and family violence of elderly people.

The Queensland Government includes LGBTI specific elements in the communication strategy (Recommendation 18) to raise awareness of domestic and family violence in the LGBTI community, remove the stigmas around reporting and seeking help, and providing LGBTI victims with advice on where to go for support.
Taking action together: building a community free from violence
The Taskforce recommends that:
The Queensland Government recognises the importance of community and government prevention programs for long term reduction of domestic and family violence and gives a clear commitment to resource and support comprehensive and coordinated prevention. In doing so, the Queensland Government must ensure both education and prevention initiatives and response programs receive funding.
The Queensland Government leads and promotes sustained, inter-generational communication
in the community about the seriousness of domestic and family violence, the community’s intolerance of domestic and family violence, and the services available to victims and perpetrators.

The Queensland Government funds the development of evaluation criteria and a robust evaluation program for existing and future initiatives aimed at changing culture and attitudes towards domestic and family violence. Evaluation of existing initiatives should be commenced as soon as possible.
The Queensland Government develops a consistent, comprehensive communication strategy on domestic and family violence for Queensland.
The Audit Oversight Body oversees development and implementation of an innovative, multi- pronged communication strategy.

As a minimum, the communication strategy must comprise a sustained, long term advertising/ media campaign to run for an appropriate minimum period of time, utilising print, television and social media to raise awareness:
  • »  Of what constitutes domestic and family violence
  • »  That it is unacceptable
  • »  Where victims can go for help
  • »  How bystanders, neighbours, friends and family can safely intervene
  • »  Where perpetrators can go for help to change their behaviour.
    A group of experts, for example, in behavioural psychology, behavioural economics, marketing and advertising, media and technology, and domestic and family violence, be established to design the communication strategy. The group will report to the Audit Oversight Body and provide advice on innovative ways to communicate with the Queensland community.
    The Queensland Government ensures that the communication strategy is implemented through all front line services including (but not limited to) health and hospital services, education services and schools, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, housing services, Legal Aid Queensland,
    The Queensland Government continues to fund and considers expanding the annual Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month Community Grants program to enable community driven initiatives to complement the communication strategy.
    The Queensland Government leads and facilitates the introduction of programs in State schools to embed through the school life of all secondary and primary state schools a culture that emphasises:
  • »  Developing and maintaining respectful relationships
  • »  Respecting self
  • »  Gender equality.
Director of Public Prosecutions and other legal services.

The Queensland Government leads and facilitates the introduction of programs to ensure that all secondary students can:
  • »  Recognise domestic and family violence and where to go for help
  • »  Safely intervene and provide support to victims.
    The Queensland Government leads and facilitates the introduction of programs to ensure that all primary students can:
  • »  Resolve conflict without violence
  • »  Report fears and concerns safely.
    The Queensland Minister for Education works with Queensland Catholic Education Council and Independent Schools Queensland to support introduction of similar programs in private schools in Queensland.
    Principals of non-government schools consider the Queensland Government program and incorporate as appropriate into the school culture.
    The Queensland Government includes measures for implementing the programs into the performance agreements of Principals and Deputy-Principals of state schools.
    In developing the communication strategy, the Queensland Government identifies high profile role models to raise awareness of domestic and family violence. Male role models should be drawn from the areas of music, television, film, business, science and sport. Role models need to be selected from an accredited list or undertake appropriate training to be able to speak authoritatively on domestic and family violence and contribute positively to the strategy.

As the largest employer in Queensland, the Queensland Government takes the lead in developing and modelling workplaces that foster equality, and educates employees on unacceptable behaviour in the home and the workplace, with direct emphasis on domestic and family violence.
The Queensland Government funds the development of a training program for employers and businesses on building workplaces supportive to victims of domestic and family violence, that includes skills on identifying and responding to domestic and family violence.
The Queensland Government amends the Industrial Relations Act to create a new category of leave for the public sector for victims of domestic and family violence that may be taken for any purpose related to the violence (such as for injury recovery, finding accommodation, court preparation and court appearance).
The Queensland Government ensures the amendment provide for 10 days a year of leave, non- accumulative, to be taken in conjunction with other leave and incorporating sensitivity as to the proof requirements for approval of the leave.
The Queensland Government amends the Industrial Relations Act to specify outcomes of domestic and family violence (i.e. injury, application for leave, taking of leave) are not grounds for fair dismissal (similar to parental leave).
The Queensland Government requests the Commonwealth Government considers similar leave and dismissal amendments to the Fair Work Act to protect Queensland workers engaged under the Federal Act from unfair dismissal and provide appropriate support to workers experiencing domestic and family violence.
The Queensland Public Service Commission Chief Executive develops Public Service Directives specifically for management of victims of domestic and family violence in the workplace.

The Queensland Public Service Commission Chief Executive develops training for managers and supervisors on implementing these directives and supporting victims of domestic and family violence.
Queensland Government departments develop and make available information resources for victims on where to seek assistance (financial, accommodation, personal safety, counselling) and for perpetrators to seek help to change behaviour (voluntary perpetrator programs, counselling etc).
The Minister for Local Government works with the Local Government Association of Queensland and individual local governments to implement the changes in the Industrial Relations Act and the provision of new leave. This includes providing (free of charge) all directives, human resource policies and training programs established for state public service employees.
The Queensland Government supports businesses and non-government organisations to develop and maintain workplaces that support victims of domestic and family violence. This includes providing all directives, human resources policies and training programs established for state public service employees.
The Queensland Government amends the Queensland Procurement Policy and Guidelines to expand upon Principle 4: “We use our procurement to advance the government’s economic, environmental and social objectives and support the long-term wellbeing of our community”, to include consideration of workplace policies concerning domestic and family violence as part of the criteria for determining ‘ethical and socially responsible suppliers’.
The Queensland Government makes funded services that work with victims of domestic and family violence explain in their service agreements how they will foster a workplace culture that reduces work-induced trauma, outlining specific initiatives.

Queensland Government departments and Government-funded organisations brief interpreters prior to any client communication to fully inform them of the nature of the likely discussion and the opportunity to decline the engagement.
Businesses and non-government organisations in Queensland recognise the significant economic and social impact of domestic and family violence on the national and state economies and on workforce productivity.
Businesses and non-government organisations in Queensland implement human resource policies, leave arrangements and other support programs to support victims of domestic and family violence.
Businesses and non-government organisations in Queensland incorporate information on domestic and family violence, its unacceptability, availability of support and how to safely intervene in staff training.
Business and non-government organisations in Queensland sign up to the CEO Challenge to build relationships with domestic and family violence support services, and foster workplaces that do not tolerate violence and support victims.
The Queensland Government funds the development, promotion and provision of a model training program for frontline professionals in service industries and government, to develop skills in recognising when domestic and family violence is occurring and appropriate intervention.

The Taskforce supports the recommendation of the Coroner in his report on the inquest into the death of Ms Beutel and recommends that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners refines the RACGP ‘White Book’ – Abuse and Violence – Working with our patients in general practice to be more prescriptive and provide more definitive advice and decision making pathways for general practitioners.
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, CheckUp and Primary Health networks work together to ensure that all General Practitioners across Queensland, have access to, are familiar with and are utilising the ‘White Book’.
The Queensland Government, in partnership with CheckUp and the RACGP, develops a toolkit based on existing examples in Victoria and New South Wales to complement the ‘White Book’ and assist GPs to recognise and respond to domestic and family violence.
The Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists continues to expand the resources available to trainees and practitioners and develop a strategy to actively engage with Fellows to encourage ongoing use of the resources.
The Queensland Government evaluates the frequency and efficacy of ante-natal screening for domestic and family violence and reports to the Audit Oversight Body.
The Queensland Government commissions the Australian College of Midwives to develop training for midwives on asking pregnant women about exposure to domestic violence during ante-natal appointments and how to deal with disclosure, and a tool kit to provide practical guidance on implementing the national practice guidelines.

Hospital and Health Services ensure that all midwives receive appropriate training and that all women attending ante-natal clinics are asked about their exposure to domestic and family violence and appropriate referrals occur if domestic violence is disclosed.
The Australian College of Midwives develops a continuing professional development program to educate midwives on asking pregnant women about exposure to domestic violence during ante-natal appointments and how to deal with disclosure.
The Queensland Chief Health Officer and Queensland Chief Nurse work with private hospitals to encourage similar admission procedures in private maternity hospitals, and to make available for use any tools or material produced for public midwives.
The Queensland Government and DVConnect work in partnership to develop a model to provide immediate access to specialist domestic and family support and referral services within public and private maternity hospitals and emergency departments.
The Minister for Health recommends to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council that the Health Practitioner Regulation Boards of Australia require specific skill sets pertaining to recognition of and appropriate intervention for domestic and family violence and child harm be included in accreditation standards submitted by Accreditation Agencies under the National Law.
The Minister for Health recommends to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council that Health Practitioner Regulation Boards of Australia work with appropriate accreditation bodies and colleges to enable professional development on recognising and intervening appropriately in domestic and family violence to be considered suitable for Continuing Professional Development recognition.

The Minister for Health recommends to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council that consideration also be given to including skill sets and professional development on recognising and responding to child harm into accreditation standards and professional development programs.
The Minister for Health recommends to the Standing Council on Health that a requirement to be familiar with the indicators of domestic and family violence and child harm and to appropriately intervene be included into the draft National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers.
The Queensland Minister for Education recommends to the Education Council that the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership includes in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, specific skill sets to recognise and respond to incidents of domestic and family violence and child harm.
The Queensland Government works with universities to identify suitable ways to incorporate into professional undergraduate courses, education and training on how to identify when domestic and family violence is occurring and how to appropriately intervene.
The Queensland Government works with the Vocational Education and Training sector to increase the delivery of existing approved units of competency related to domestic and family violence.
The Queensland Government considers legislative amendment to the Defamation Act 2005 to provide a defence to defamation against media for publishing domestic and family violence support services information in stories or publications where domestic and family violence is alleged or intimated but not yet proven.

The Attorney-General recommends to the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council that a similar defence be established in all jurisdictions across Australia to provide surety to media when publishing nationally available content.
The Queensland Government reviews current relevant civil and criminal legislation to identify and amend anything that may impede media from publishing information about domestic and family violence support services when reporting on domestic and family violence incidents.
The Queensland Government develops a media guide to assist news and current affairs programs when reporting on domestic and family violence incidents in Queensland.
Getting help: Building an integrated service response
The Taskforce recommends that:
The Queensland Government undertakes an immediate audit of services to ensure adequate resources are available to meet demand for specialist domestic and family violence services, including perpetrator intervention initiatives and specialist shelters.
The Queensland Government develops a long term funding and investment model, informed by the audit on the best mix of specialist and generalist services, to be implemented, as a minimum, over the five year forward estimates commencing in 2016/2017, to meet needs and address any gaps.
The Queensland Government explicitly outlines in the funding and investment model how new investment in service delivery for rural and remote communities will:
  • »  Enhance collaboration and coordination
  • »  Encourage innovation in service delivery

  • »  Improve service to Queensland’s rural and remote communities into the future
  • »  Expand technology to support victims of domestic and family violence
  • »  Attract and retain highly skilled workers to support victims of domestic and family violence in rural and remote communities
  • »  Link rural and remote services into the broader network of domestic and family violence service providers.
    The Queensland Government immediately, and in collaboration with the domestic and family violence service sector, establishes pilots for an integrated response model, incorporating:
  • »  One urban integrated response to domestic and family violence
  • »  One regional city integrated response to domestic and family violence, with outreach
  • »  One discrete Indigenous community integrated response (as discussed in section 5.2 of this Report).
    These trial sites need to be reviewed and evaluated, with a view to expanding the number of sites for integrated services over a defined period of time to transition to state-wide integrated service responses.
    The Queensland Government establishes a model for inter-agency response to high risk cases which works within, or complements integrated responses and which is progressively established throughout the state.
    The Queensland Government designs a best practice common risk assessment framework to support service provision in an integrated response, and designed for use by generalist and specialist services (supported by relevant tools).
programs to rural and remote communities

The Queensland Government introduces enabling legislation to allow information sharing between agencies (government and non-government) within integrated responses, with appropriate safeguards. This would include legislative protection for the sharing of information without consent if a risk assessment indicates it is for the purpose of protecting the safety of the victim and their immediate family.
The Queensland Government develops and shares with all relevant service providers, clear guidelines to facilitate information sharing within an integrated response, with a continued focus on obtaining consent unless a high risk threshold has been met.
The Queensland Government increases access to domestic and family violence perpetrator intervention initiatives, prioritising those areas identified for the immediate rollout of integrated responses (see Recommendation 74) with a view to ensuring statewide coverage within three years.
The Queensland Government changes eligibility criteria so offenders in custody for less than 12 months for domestic and family violence related offences are able to access a range of therapeutic intervention programs.
The Queensland Government:
a. Reviews and updates the Professional Practice Standards: Working with men who perpetrate domestic and family violence and the accompanying principles to ensure they reflect the most recent developments and knowledge in the field and include models of practice and standards to ensure safe and appropriate practice for individual (as well as group) intervention sessions
  1. Ensures that practice standards require that initiatives for perpetrators of domestic and family violence are to be delivered in conjunction with an integrated response in order to establish adequate safety and accountability protocols
  2. Establishes a clear and rigorous process for evaluating and approving initiatives and providing ongoing monitoring of compliance with the Practice Standards to ensure that issues of non-compliance and service system development requirements are identified

d. Considers establishing a formal accreditation process for practitioners, including minimum qualification requirements for practitioners, be implemented gradually so as to not adversely impact on service availability.
The Queensland Government:
  1. Works with the service sector, using a co-design approach, to develop a suite of state-wide tools to support the integration of responses, including an information sharing protocol (Recommendation 78 and 79), a common risk assessment framework (Recommendation 77) and a process for managing high risk cases (Recommendation 76)
  2. Provides sufficient flexibility in the structure of the integrated response for local service providers to build on existing networks and initiatives to ensure the model is tailored to the specific needs of the local community and service landscape
  3. Ensures that, while primarily involving the central role of specialist domestic and family violence services, the integrated responses incorporate generalist service providers to ensure early identification of people affected by domestic and family violence and support appropriate referral pathways
  4. Ensures that the integrated response includes adequate provision of services for perpetrators of domestic and family violence
  5. Provides appropriate funding to agencies participating in integrated responses to enable ongoing professional development opportunities to staff.
The Queensland Government immediately funds two 72-hour crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville respectively for women and children escaping violence so that immediate safety and support can be met while awaiting a refuge placement.
The Queensland Government:
  1. Transfers responsibility and funding for domestic and family violence shelters back to a single portfolio, i.e. the portfolio that is responsible for the broader domestic and family violence service response
  2. Commits to maintaining dedicated funding for specialist domestic and family violence accommodation, including refuges (non-competitive with generic crisis accommodation providers such as homelessness service providers).

The Queensland Government:
  1. Provides flexibility to service providers to offer the necessary crisis accommodation required for the situation, whether that be access to a domestic and family violence refuge or brokerage funding for the perpetrator to stay in short term accommodation
  2. Ensures the Queensland Police Service’s current operational procedures strongly support women and children staying in the home, where safe, in line with the principles of the Act
  3. Expands safety upgrades programs to give more victims the option to stay safely in their own homes.
The Queensland Government pilots a refuge that caters for families with companion animals with a view to rollout more flexible refuges into the future to meet the needs of victims.
The Queensland Government expands the range of responses to alleviate housing stress and homelessness for women and children escaping domestic and family violence including reducing the eligibility criteria on programs such as Rental Grants and Bond Loans.
The Queensland Government:
  1. Provides flexible brokerage funding to alleviate immediate financial hardship that is experienced when escaping violence
  2. Provides non-residential support programs to assist victims to live independently and not be compelled to return to violent/controlling relationships
  3. Provides access to subsidised training and skilling incentives for those experiencing domestic and family violence.

Delivering fairness and accountability: An enhanced law and justice framework for domestic and family violence
The Taskforce recommends that:
The Queensland Government continues its commitment to the development and implementation of a National Domestic Violence Order Scheme to achieve automatic mutual recognition and enforcement of domestic and family violence related orders across jurisdictions.
The Queensland Government prioritises the eDV project and the Single Person Identifier project for completion as soon as practically possible within a defined time limit.
The Queensland Government works with discrete Indigenous communities to developand support an effective local authority model to respond to crime and violence in those communities, with a priority focus on addressing domestic and family violence. As a part of this work, consideration should be given to resourcing and expanding the role of community justice groups, JP Magistrate’s courts, and related local justice initiatives as appropriate, as well as examining the specific role that community justice groups could play in conferencing, mediation, and criminal justice system support.
The Queensland Government amends the Family Responsibilities Commission Act to require a court to notify the Family Responsibilities Commission when a protection order under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act is made naming a welfare reform community resident as the respondent.
The Queensland Government reviews the resourcing impact of the new domestic and family violence trigger and ensures sufficient funding is available to manage the anticipated increase in referrals to the Family Responsibilities Commission.

The Queensland Government continues the review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act to ensure appropriate financial compensation for victims of domestic and family violence.
The Queensland Government establishes specialist domestic violence courts in legislation with jurisdiction to deal with all related domestic and family violence and criminal/breach proceedings. 
Specialist courts should include specialist divisions or programs and utilise specialist Magistrates with specialised expertise in domestic, family and intimate partner sexual violence to improve the efficacy of responses to domestic and family violence. This Recommendation is to be considered in combination with the other recommendations in this Report and in particular Recommendations 116 (interpreters), 124 (court support workers), 126 (duty-lawyers) and
80 (perpetrator interventions).

The Queensland Government considers providing for related family law children’s matters (by consent) and child protection proceedings to be dealt with by the same court.
The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act be amended so that the court must consider a family law order when making a Domestic Violence Order. An amendment also be made to the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act so that the court must consider concurrent cross applications at the same time and a later application and related cross application or order.
The Queensland Government utilises trained and specialist circuit Magistrates, in areas where a specialist court is not feasible (e.g. rural and remote areas), with a good knowledge of the relevant legislation and knowledge and understanding of domestic and family violence and its impact on victims of the violence, including children who witness the violence.

The Chief Magistrate completes the domestic and family violence ‘Bench Book’ in consultation with relevant stakeholders (Women’s Legal Service, North Queensland Women’s Legal Service, Queensland Domestic Violence Services Network, Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services, Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service and Legal Aid Queensland).
The Chief Magistrate completes the Domestic Violence Best Practice project and publish the results. (103)
The Chief Magistrate commissions development of a professional development package, informed by evidence of best practice in judicial education currently being developed by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, for induction of newly appointed Magistrates on managing domestic and family violence cases.
The Chief Magistrate develops modules specifically on domestic and family violence for inclusion in professional development programs for Queensland Magistrates.
The Chief Magistrate ensures that Magistrates receive intensive and regular professional development on domestic and family violence issues, including its impact on adult victims and children, from domestic and family violence practitioners who have expertise working with adult victims, children and perpetrators.
The Queensland Government ensures that court and registry staff receive compulsory training in responding to the needs of domestic and family violence clients.
The Queensland Law Society develops best practice guidelines for lawyers working with people who have experienced domestic and family violence in accordance with Legal Aid Queensland model guidelines, and in consultation with Legal Aid Queensland, Women’s Legal Service and Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services and other relevant stakeholders.

The implementation of the best practice guidelines be led by the Queensland Law Society.
Queensland Law Society ensures that suitable continuing professional development programs in respecting diversity and ethical conduct for managing the intersection of domestic and family violence and family law are available.
Queensland Law Society encourages lawyers engaged in domestic and family violence law (whether representing perpetrators or victims) and family law undertake continuing professional development in diversity and ethical conduct for managing intersection of domestic and family violence and family law.
The Attorney-General:
  1. Recommends to the Law Council of Australia that amendment be made to the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2011 to ensure safeguards currently applied to victims of sexual assault are extended to include victims where allegations of domestic and family violence are part of proceedings.
  2. Recommends the Queensland Legal Practice Committee consider the application of safeguards for victims of domestic and family violence as they apply to Queensland solicitors and barristers, should a national approach not be supported.
The Queensland Government:
  1. Supports the work of CrimTrac in developing a National Domestic Violence Order Information Sharing System
  2. In the interim (acknowledging that a national scheme may take some time to be negotiated and implemented) progress bilateral agreements with other jurisdictions (in particular bordering jurisdictions such as New South Wales) where possible to facilitate increased information sharing for the protection of victims of domestic and family violence.

The Queensland Police Service strengthens policy and guideline documents to ensure the use of interpreters for victims of domestic and family violence and their families, where required.
The Queensland Police Service and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General ensure that applicants, including police and private, for a protection order or a variation of a protection order, have indicated either “yes” or “no” to interpreter requirements on each application filed.
The Chief Magistrate issues a practice direction to require the court to engage an interpreter, where a party has difficulty communicating in English, at the first mention for all domestic and family violence civil proceedings before the Magistrates Court.
The Department of Justice and Attorney-General identifies opportunities to streamline systems for engagement of interpreters for civil domestic and family violence court proceedings to ensure best practice.
The Queensland Government amends the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act to require a court when making a Domestic Violence Order to consider whether an order excluding the perpetrator from the home should be made, having regard to the wishes of the victim.
The Queensland Government introduces a circumstance of aggravation of domestic and family violence to be applied to all criminal offences.
The Queensland Government makes provision in legislation for domestic and family violence related convictions to be recorded, consistent with the approach adopted in New South Wales.

The Queensland Government considers the creation of a specific offence of strangulation.
The Queensland Government considers the sufficiency of penalties to hold perpetrators to account for repeat contraventions of Domestic Violence Orders.
The Queensland Government identifies and implements strategies to increase perpetrators’ participation in interventions, including a pilot on mandatory attendance, with the evaluation of the pilot to inform future decisions about broader use of mandatory perpetrator interventions.
The Queensland Government trials the use of GPS monitoring for high risk perpetrators of domestic and family violence.
The Queensland Government employs court support workers for all Magistrates Courts for domestic and family violence matters for all applicants and information/liaison officers for all respondents.
The Queensland Government develops a formal position description and guidelines for court support workers and information/liaison officers to provide uniformity in support to people through domestic and family violence proceedings, and that the Chief Magistrate looks at the consistency across all Magistrates Courts on the role of court support workers.
The Queensland Government establishes a state-wide duty-lawyer service for domestic and family violence matters in Magistrates Courts for both applicants and respondents.

The Queensland Government develops a position description and guidelines for the duty-lawyer service to ensure:
  • »  Provision of legal advice before and after court appearances
  • »  Limited assistance with drafting court related documents
  • »  Provision of advice and referral on related issues (such as family law, child support, child protection matters)
  • »  Legal representation during court appearances. (128)
    The Queensland Government ensures duty-lawyer service lawyers are:
  • »  Experienced in the dynamics and challenges of domestic and family violence
  • »  Able to give family law, child support and child protection advice
  • »  Operate within a wider integrated service response network, working to prioritise the safety of adult victims and children.
    The Queensland Government amends the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act to provide for victim impact statements to be introduced and for mandatory consideration by the court in applications for protection orders.
    The Queensland Government introduces a sexual assault counselling privilege based on the New South Wales legislative model, i.e. an absolute privilege in preliminary proceedings and a qualified privilege in other proceedings.
    The Queensland Police Service develops and implements a strategy for increasing criminal prosecution of perpetrators of domestic and family violence through enhanced investigative and evidence-gathering methodologies.

In responding to recommendations related to enhancing integration, responsible agencies in Government should make provision for the inclusion of coordinating appropriate justice supports for victims of domestic and family violence exposed to criminal proceedings.
The Attorney-General, in consultation with the Chief Magistrate and Chief Judge, implements alternative evidence procedures for victims of domestic and family violence providing evidence in related criminal matters to reduce the trauma of this experience, including legislative amendment and/or procedural changes. Consideration should be given to allowing for admissibility of any video recordings made at the time of initial police intervention.
The Queensland Police Service adopts a pro-active investigation and protection policy which requires consideration of safety of the victim as paramount when deciding the course of action to be taken against the perpetrator and prioritises arrest where risk assessment indicates this action is appropriate.
Recognising the valuable contribution of District Domestic and Family Violence Coordinators
to the experiences of victims of domestic and family violence, the Queensland Police Service 
increases staffing numbers based on rigorous assessment of demand and appropriate allocation and resourcing of these positions across the State.
The Queensland Police Service reinstates the Domestic and Family Violence State Coordinator role at a level of suitable influence to effectively support District Domestic and Family Violence Coordinators, address the disconnect between policy and practice to engender a consistent approach to the policing response, monitor performance and drive the future direction of policing domestic and family violence with a view to improving practice.

The Queensland Police Service appoints the Deputy Commissioner (Regional Operations) to champion best practice domestic and family violence prevention and first responder practice in the Queensland Police Service. The Deputy Commissioner would be responsible, among other things, for increasing officers’ awareness and understanding of domestic and family violence and its impact on involved parties, police and the community, with a view to creating positive cultural change within the Queensland Police Service.
The Queensland Police Service facilitates an external independent audit and review of training packages currently available to officers, with a view to assessing the appropriateness and frequency of compulsory professional development opportunities relevant to domestic and family violence. Components for enhancement of officers’ conceptual understanding of dynamics of domestic and family violence, communication skills, as well as cultural awareness and sensitives should be assessed.
The Queensland Government duly notes the advice to be received from the Family Law Council (due December 2015) in relation to the terms of reference issued by the Commonwealth Attorney-General, in October 2014 in relation to the needs of parents resolving parenting disputes. However, the Queensland Government must not wait for the Family Law Council report to proceed with recommendations in this report. Some reforms implemented following this Taskforce may need to be reviewed to reflect/coordinate with any Commonwealth reforms made longer term following the Family Law Council report.
The Queensland Government undertakes a review of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act by 31 December 2015, to ensure a cohesive legislative framework for domestic and family violence in Queensland, that incorporates major reforms recommended in this Report. Resulting legislative amendments to be made as soon as possible, but not later than by 30 June 2016.