Sunday, 15 March 2015

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:
(1)
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.
(2)
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.
(3)
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.
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(4) The Premier of Queensland tables the oversight body’s reports in the Queensland Parliament.
(5)
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
(6)
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.
(7)
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.
(8)
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.
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the Strategy in terms of improving outcomes.
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Laying the foundations: Building a framework to protecting at-risk Queenslanders
The Taskforce recommends that:
(9)
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.
(10)
The Queensland Government commissions a review to address the impact of domestic and family violence on people with disabilities.
(11)
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).
(12)
The Queensland Government includes specific elements in the communication strategy (see Recommendation 18) that target elder abuse, and where to go for support.
(13)
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.
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(14)
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:
(15)
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.
(16)
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.

(17)
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.
(18)
The Queensland Government develops a consistent, comprehensive communication strategy on domestic and family violence for Queensland.
(19)
The Audit Oversight Body oversees development and implementation of an innovative, multi- pronged communication strategy.
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(20)
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.
    (21)
    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.
    (22)
    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,
    (23)
    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.
    (24)
    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.
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Director of Public Prosecutions and other legal services.
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(25)
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.
    (26)
    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.
    (27)
    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.
    (28)
    Principals of non-government schools consider the Queensland Government program and incorporate as appropriate into the school culture.
    (29)
    The Queensland Government includes measures for implementing the programs into the performance agreements of Principals and Deputy-Principals of state schools.
    (30)
    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.
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(31)
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.
(32)
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.
(33)
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).
(34)
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.
(35)
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).
(36)
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.
(37)
The Queensland Public Service Commission Chief Executive develops Public Service Directives specifically for management of victims of domestic and family violence in the workplace.
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(38)
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.
(39)
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).
(40)
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.
(41)
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.
(42)
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’.
(43)
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.
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(44)
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.
(45)
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.
(46)
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.
(47)
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.
(48)
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.
(49)
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.
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(50)
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.
(51)
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’.
(52)
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.
(53)
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.
(54)
The Queensland Government evaluates the frequency and efficacy of ante-natal screening for domestic and family violence and reports to the Audit Oversight Body.
(55)
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.
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(56)
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.
(57)
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.
(58)
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.
(59)
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.
(60)
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.
(61)
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.
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(62)
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.
(63)
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.
(64)
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.
(65)
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.
(66)
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.
(67)
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.
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(68)
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.
(69)
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.
(70)
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:
(71)
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.
(72)
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.
(73)
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
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  • »  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.
    (74)
    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).
    (75)
    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.
    (76)
    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.
    (77)
    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).
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programs to rural and remote communities
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(78)
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.
(79)
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.
(80)
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.
(81)
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.
(82)
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
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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.
(83)
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.
(84)
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.
(85)
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).
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(86)
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.
(87)
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.
(88)
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.
(89)
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.
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Delivering fairness and accountability: An enhanced law and justice framework for domestic and family violence
The Taskforce recommends that:
(90)
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.
(91)
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.
(92)
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.
(93)
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.
(94)
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.
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(95)
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.
(96)
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. 
(97)
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).

(98)
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.
(99)
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.
(100)
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.
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(101)
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).
(102)
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.
(104)
The Chief Magistrate develops modules specifically on domestic and family violence for inclusion in professional development programs for Queensland Magistrates.
(105)
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.
(106)
The Queensland Government ensures that court and registry staff receive compulsory training in responding to the needs of domestic and family violence clients.
(107)
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.
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(108)
The implementation of the best practice guidelines be led by the Queensland Law Society.
(109)
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.
(110)
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.
(111)
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.
(112)
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.
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(113)
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.
(114)
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.
(115)
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.
(116)
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.
(117)
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.
(118)
The Queensland Government introduces a circumstance of aggravation of domestic and family violence to be applied to all criminal offences.
(119)
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.
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(120)
The Queensland Government considers the creation of a specific offence of strangulation.
(121)
The Queensland Government considers the sufficiency of penalties to hold perpetrators to account for repeat contraventions of Domestic Violence Orders.
(122)
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.
(123)
The Queensland Government trials the use of GPS monitoring for high risk perpetrators of domestic and family violence.
(124)
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.
(125)
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.
(126)
The Queensland Government establishes a state-wide duty-lawyer service for domestic and family violence matters in Magistrates Courts for both applicants and respondents.
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(127)
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.
    (129)
    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.
    (130)
    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.
    (131)
    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.
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(132)
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.
(133)
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.
(134)
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.
(135)
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.
(136)
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.
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(137)
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.
(138)
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.
(139)
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.
(140)
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. 

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