Reduce domestic and family violence (DFV) is one of our three pro bono priority areas. We have a long history of working with victims/survivors of DFV and focus on prevention, empowerment, increased access to justice and accountability of perpetrators.
We are delighted to see that the Queensland Government has confirmed its support, and/or support in principle, for all initiatives of the Women’s Safety and Justice Task Force. 89 recommendations in its “Hear Her Voice” report for further reform of our DFV service system and justice system to reduce DFV.
In particular, we are pleased that the government, among others, and before to the introduction of legislative reform, make these three key changes.
1. Commit to increasing awareness and understanding within the community and improving primary prevention efforts by:
- a statewide, multi-pronged communications and engagement strategy focused on community awareness and understanding of VAW and coercive control; explain legislative changes; and develop a comprehensive and integrated plan for the primary prevention of violence against women;
- improve government implementation of respectful relationship education initiatives in Queensland schools; and
- work with key stakeholders, including First Nations people, people from CALD backgrounds, people with disabilities, LGBTIQA+ people and people at intersections to develop resources on coercive control and law changes.
2. Improve service system responses to DFV through:
- a five-year strategic investment plan for the government-wide DFV service system, implemented and funded by the government;
- establishment of an integrated DFV peak agency to support improved statewide coordination, service integration, capacity and capacity building, and support the integration of a common approach to addressing intersectional issues; and
- the development of an evidence-based and trauma-informed framework to support the strengthening of education, training and change management in all sectors of the DFV and the justice system, including the police, prosecution services, the legal profession and our courts.
3. Improve police, legal profession, courts and law enforcement responses to DFV through:
- develop specialist expertise across the Queensland Police Service;
- work with the Queensland Law Society, Bar Association and Legal Aid to support improved education and training for lawyers and court officers, including for undergraduate law students to ensure they have learned about DFV and coercive control and ensure the professional development of legal practitioners and court officers in DFV and trauma-informed practice is ongoing; and
- the development of a statewide plan to improve the safety of victims of DFV when appearing in court.