A specialist domestic and family violence court will begin hearings on the Gold Coast next month following a major report by former Governor General Dame Quentin Bryce.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the Queensland government had accepted all 140 recommendations in Dame Quentin’s Not Now, Not Ever report into domestic and family violence.
The government revealed it would spend $327,000 on a six-month trial of the specialist court in Southport, where the number of domestic and family violence incidents is among the highest in the state.
The trial is expected to lead to the roll out of similar courts across Queensland.
Dame Quentin’s report, originally commissioned by the previous Newman LNP Government, recommended that specialist courts should include specifically-designed programs and use magistrates with expertise in domestic, family and intimate partner sexual violence.
Other key recommendations accepted by the government include the introduction of a circumstance of aggravation for all criminal offences involving family and domestic violence.
Ms Palaszczuk said that domestic and family violence was such a breach of trust that it deserved a higher penalty and the criminal code would be changed to reflect that.
The government also agreed to consider making non-lethal strangulation a criminal offence.
“The Not Now, Not Ever report also identified that strangulation is often a precursor to domestic homicide, and a clear indication of an escalation in violence,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said $31.3 million would be spent over four years implementing the high-priority initiatives recommended in the Not Now, Not Ever report.
During 2015-16, Government funding to tackle domestic and family violence, including existing programs and new measures, would total more than $66 million.
“Dame Quentin Bryce has given us a detailed blueprint for success. We accept all her recommendations and have developed a government draft strategy which we will now take to the people of Queensland for input,’ Ms Fentiman said.
“This is a huge undertaking, from challenging the culture and attitudes which underpin violence, through to the help we offer victims to ensure they are supported and don’t get lost in the system.”