ELOISE LE GROS
Queensland police officers will have the ability to act quicker and protect victims escaping domestic violence if a new amendment bill is passed this week in state parliament.
The amendments to current legislation would allow police to provide immediate protection to adult victims and, for the first time, include their children through increased Police Protection Notices.
Currently, victims who have experienced non-violent threats, or fear for their safety, are placed in a legal grey area if pursuing a Domestic Violence Order (DVO).
However, under the new proposal, courts may issue DVO’s for victims who have been threatened or have fears for their safety and well-being.
The changes come after The Queensland Special Taskforce for Domestic and Family Violence Report recommended increased legislation support for both victims and police officers.
Queensland Police Senior Sergeant, Peta Jordan welcomed the changes in the legislation for police officers.
“The new legislation will enable [police officers] to enforce increased immediate protection for children, allowing us to protect them as well as the victims from the perpetrators,”
“Anything that helps us to better support the victims is a positive thing,” Snr Sergeant Jordan said.
In 2013-14, 66,016 instances of domestic violence were recorded by Queensland Police, equating to over 180 daily reports to authorities, according to the 2016 report.
Queensland Women’s Legal Service barrister, Angela Lynch also expressed support for the new legislation amendments.
“We would be in favour of any expanded police protection for victims supported by the new legislation, particularly for children of victims,” Ms Lynch said.
DV Connect Helpline Queensland CEO, Di Mangan was also favorable to the changes made for police officers when dealing with domestic violence cases.
“The immediacy of family protection is vital [in these situations]. We would absolutely support any changes that simplify the legal process to enforce quicker protection for victims and children,” She said.
According to The Australian Bureau of statistics, 17% of all women in Australia have experienced domestic violence, with 14.5% of these having experienced previous partner violence since they were 15 years old.
Already this year, nine deaths from domestic violence have occurred in Queensland and statistics suggest that seven out of ten women murdered in Australia are victims of domestic violence.
“As a community, we have come a long way in providing domestic violence victims’ support, but we still have a long way to go,” Ms Mangan said.
In 2015, Queensland domestic violence support line, DV Connect, recieved 55,000 calls from victims seeking help.
If yourself or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the 24/7 DV Connect helpline on 1800 811 811.