The Queensland government has ordered a Commission of Inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence and plans to expand the courts and tighten laws to stamp out abuse.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the probe follows recommendations from the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce led by former Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo.
The four-month inquiry will look at how adequately police have dealt with domestic violence cases.
“Let me make this very clear: our police service does an exemplary job, countless lives have been saved because of the men and women in our police service,” the premier told parliament on Tuesday.
“But many survivors report that they did not receive an adequate response at their particular point in time.”
The state government will also tighten stalking laws and criminalise coercive control, which includes isolating a partner from family and friends, monitoring their movements, controlling their access to money and psychological and emotional manipulation.
Coercive control disproportionately affects women in Queensland.
Another $375 million in funding will be made available to expand domestic violence courts, upgrade support services, roll out a First Nations strategy and fund perpetrator programs “to change men’s behaviour”.
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said high-risk police teams and co-responder programs with domestic violence services will also be rolled out, along with new education programs in schools.
“A key focus of the reforms will be to build an understanding of DFV (domestic and family violence) and coercive control across the [police] agency to help police improve how they respond to these matters,” she said.
“Officers need to be able to better identify DFV as a pattern of behaviour over time and assess risk for coercive control and non-physical forms of violence.
“We will act to develop specialist expertise and training in DFV, and improve the frontline response to incidents through the development of a manual to guide officers.”