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Submission to the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce into options for legislating against coercive control and the creation of standalone domestic violence offence

In March 2021, The Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce sought public input into the options for legislating against coercive control and the creation of a standalone domestic violence offence.

Based upon Moneycare, Doorways and Family and Domestic Violence Services input, The Salvation Army provided a submission. Our critical conclusions include:

  • Any decision around policy or legislative responses must be driven by the actual lived experience of coercive control. To this end we encourage the Taskforce to continue to proactively seek the views of victim-survivors in a way that ensures that providing evidence will not endanger to re-traumatise the victim-survivor.
  • In considering criminalisation, The Salvation Army highlights the experience of criminalising modern slavery activities and the experience of other jurisdictions. The critical factor in this evidence in that criminalisation is likely to only be effective if other broad-based supports, appropriate training for police and frontline workers, and community reinforcement of acceptable behaviours is provided.
  • Community education is critical to addressing coercive control.
  • Any legislative response needs to be coupled with a significant increase in funding to the specialist family and domestic violence service sector. Any legislative changes will inevitably increase demand for family and domestic violence specialist services and must include dedicated funding to address the needs of children. The service system must be bolstered to meet this demand.
  • Any policy or legislative response needs to be monitored and evaluated. This is especially needed in relation to victim-survivor safety, wellbeing and recovery, and perpetrator accountability and rehabilitations.

The taskforce will deliver its final report on options for legislating against coercive control and the need for a new offence of “commit domestic violence” to the Government by October 2021.

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