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Taskforce releases first discussion paper on laws to tackle coercive control

The Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce today released its first discussion paper seeking community input on how best to legislate against coercive control as a form of domestic and family violence.

The paper also examines the need to create a new offence of ‘commit domestic violence’ in Queensland, amongst a range of options for discussion.

Taskforce Chair Margaret McMurdo AC said the discussion paper posed questions designed to provoke thought and consideration about Queensland’s current and best future response to domestic and family violence.

“Our understanding of domestic and family violence is continually evolving,” Ms McMurdo said. “We are increasingly learning about the significant detrimental impacts of this type of abuse, including when it is not limited to physical violence.

“The community expects that our laws, systems and processes will respond to this.”

She said the taskforce was seeking responses to the paper from people with lived experience, service providers, legal professionals, and the wider community.

“We acknowledge there are strong and diverse views about criminalising domestic violence and coercive control,” Ms McMurdo said. “We want Queenslanders to tell us what’s working, what isn’t working and what needs to change.”

The discussion paper gives an overview of how Queensland’s laws currently respond to domestic and family violence, outlines the risks and benefits of introducing new legislation, and presents 13 options for legislating against coercive control.

“From the Taskforce’s perspective, no option is off the table” Ms McMurdo said. “We’re committed to considering all the information and evidence we receive with an open mind in the best interests of the Queensland community, and welcome suggestions about other options for reform.”

The paper is the Taskforce’s first discussion paper since its establishment in March this year to undertake a wide-ranging review of the experience of women across the criminal justice system.

Read the discussion paper.

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