The independent commission of inquiry into Queensland Police Service (QPS) responses to domestic and family violence (DFV) has announced it will hold a series of public hearings in Brisbane and regional centres over the coming weeks.
The first public hearing is scheduled to be open in Brisbane on Monday (11 July) and travel to regional Queensland – with proposed meetings to be held in Cairns, Townsville and Mt Isa.
Respected Childrens Court President Deborah Richards was last month appointed to lead the independent inquiry following a recommendation of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report, ‘Hear her voice’.
Judge Richards, in a statement released yesterday afternoon, said the hearings would provide the community with an opportunity to see and hear witnesses giving evidence to the commission, and for that evidence to be tested by the parties who have been given leave to appear.
“In the first week of the hearings, witnesses will provide evidence regarding the capability, capacity and structure of the QPS to respond to domestic and family violence, as well as evidence regarding training provided to QPS officers,” Judge Richards said.
“Current and retired QPS officers will also be called as witnesses to provide evidence on the cultural issues within the QPS relating to the investigation of domestic and family violence.”
She said subsequent hearings would focus on the experiences and observations of regional and First Nations police officers, legal representatives and community support workers.
A series of expert witnesses across a range of topics related to the policing of DFV are expected to be called.
Hearings are scheduled to kick off at Brisbane’s George Street Magistrates Court (Court 17) on Monday. Further Brisbane hearings will be held in the Land Court of Queensland from 25-29 July and 1-5 August.
Regional Queensland hearings will be held in the Cairns Magistrates Court (18-19 July), Townsville Magistrates Court (21-22 July) and Mt Isa Court House on 9 August.
Brisbane-based hearings will be livestreamed from the commission’s website and transcripts from all hearings are expected to be made available on the website shortly after each sitting.
The commission has been tasked to focus on systemic matters affecting the capacity of the service to respond to DFV and to make recommendations about how to address any issues identified in that examination.
It is not required to make findings into individual cases.
More information on the witness schedule and the commission’s terms of reference can be found on the QPS DFV inquiry website.