Ending domestic and family violence: how it began - Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Queensland Government)

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Ending domestic and family violence: how it began

In 2013–14, more than 66,000 incidents were reported to Queensland police, and there were 17 homicides related to domestic and family violence in 2012-13.

To address these alarming statistics, a Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland was established.

The former Governor-General of Australia, The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, chaired the taskforce.

Over several months, the taskforce undertook extensive statewide consultation to look at how government, the police and community could work together to tackle domestic and family violence.

After speaking with hundreds of domestic violence survivors, service providers and support groups, the taskforce handed down its report, Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland.

The report made 140 recommendations and provided the framework for wide-ranging legal, social and cultural change to address domestic and family violence.

In August 2015, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the number of domestic violence incidents as ‘one of our state’s great shames’ and accepted all 121 of the report’s recommendations for government, and committed to support the 19 non-government recommendations.

What happened next?

Following the handing down of the landmark report, Not Now, Not Ever, the Queensland Government developed the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026 (PDF) Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026 (DOCX, 737 KB) and the first action plan (PDF) first action plan (DOCX, 217 KB).

The strategy outlines a positive plan of action to address domestic and family violence. It has a strong focus on prevention—stopping the violence before it happens—and supporting those living with violence.

A second action plan (PDF) second action plan (DOCX, 56 KB) has been developed and sets the foundation for ending domestic and family violence under three areas:

  • shifting community attitudes and behaviours
  • enhancing service responses
  • strengthening justice system responses.

The government will work with the community and service providers, such as schools, businesses, healthcare providers and legal aid services, to achieve the vision of a Queensland free from domestic and family violence.

What are the recommendations about?

The recommendations deal with a number of actions to end domestic and family violence in Queensland.

The actions include:

  • changing the criminal code to allow a higher penalty for domestic and family violence
  • providing education programs about respectful relationships to primary and secondary schools
  • trialing integrated service responses in three locations
  • developing and promoting best practice for Queensland workplaces to support employees affected by domestic and family violence
  • working with the health sector to assist GPs and midwives when dealing with domestic and family violence
  • reducing barriers to information sharing between agencies
  • establishing more shelters for victims
  • providing more perpetrator programs
  • trialing a Domestic and Family Violence Magistrates Court in Southport
  • revising the police response to prioritise victim safety
  • providing additional funding to Legal Aid Queensland.

Future updates will look in more detail at the achievements against the recommendations.

Where are we now?

Of the 121 recommendations for the government in the Not Now, Not Ever report, we have:

  • commenced 66
  • completed 55.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way society, services and the justice systems respond to domestic and family violence.

It won’t be easy, it will take time, but the journey to end domestic and family violence in Queensland has begun.

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