The possibility of implementing a law notifying people of their partner’s criminal history was the centre of a round table discussion at Sherwood on Tuesday.
Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Shadow Minister Tracy Davis, along with Mt Ommaney MP Tarnya Smith, met with a group of residents at the Sherwood Neighbourhood Centre to discuss their idea to implement Clare’s Law in Queensland.
Clare’s Law was enacted in the United Kingdom after Clare Wood, 36, was murdered by her husband in 2009. She had not been aware of his violent history of abuse against women.
The law allows anyone the ability to request a background check on their partner’s criminal offences. It discloses convicted acts of violence, including sexual violence and violence against children. Relatives can also request a disclosure application.
Looking to the success of Clare’s Law in the UK, the LNP Government is now trying to pass this law to safeguard Queensland women. With the law soon to be legislated in neighbouring New South Wales, Shadow Minister Davis has been asking communities throughout the state for feedback.
Shadow Minister Davis said domestic violence is an issue that needs to be addressed.
“The time is ripe for taking some action against domestic violence,” she said.
“This law will provide another tool to keep mainly women and children safe. A lot of women out there don’t know what to do and Clare’s Law helps them.”
State Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said the Government is committed to tackling domestic and family violence.
However the Government would prefer to implement the changes outlined in Quentin Bryce’s report Not Now, Not Ever first.
“We are already taking decisive action, with $31.3m in the budget for priority actions recommended in the Not Now, Not Ever report by the Taskforce into Domestic and Family Violence headed by Hon Quentin Bryce,” Ms Fentiman said.
“This comprehensive report had 140 recommendations, but it did not recommend a disclosure scheme like Clare’s Law.”
“What stakeholders have told me is to be very mindful of unintended consequences of disclosure schemes, and to resist an isolated change without the broader changes to the system which should be our priority.”