Radical push to create a register for domestic violence offenders with the same conditions as serial paedophiles after a series of horror murders and attacks on women and children
- Offenders would undergo police checks and limitations on where they can live
- Other ideas included adding a new offence, ‘commit domestic violence’
- A standalone ‘coercive control’ offence was also proposed by the taskforce
Domestic violence offenders could be placed on a register under the same conditions as rapists, following a series of horrific murders and attacks on women and children in Queensland.
The suggestion was one of 13 put forward in a discussion paper by the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice on Thursday.
If implemented, domestic violence offenders would be subject to police checks, limitations on where they can live and work, and strict bans on travel and social media – the same as serial sex offenders.
The register would not be available to the public but would allow police to keep track of where offenders who are allowed in the community are living.
Hannah Clarke (pictured) and her three children were doused in petrol and set alight by their controlling father in Brisbane
Other major ideas in the discussion paper included adding a new offence named ‘commit domestic violence’ to the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2012, and creating a standalone ‘coercive control’ offence.
Coercive control is a strategic form of ongoing oppression that works to frighten the victim into submission.
The discussion paper also proposed a new ‘cruelty’ offence, which would be based on the existing ‘torture’ offence and carries a maximum jail sentence of 14 years.
The proposals are a bid to keep Queensland families safe after a series of murders and attacks on women and children between 2019 and 2021.
Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson (pictured, second left) died after she was allegedly set on fire by her estranged husband in April
In February 2020 Hannah Clarke and her three children were doused in petrol and set alight by their controlling father in Brisbane.
In February 2021 Doreen Langham’s burnt body was found in her townhouse in Logan, near Brisbane – hours after she called police for help.
Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson died after she was allegedly set on fire by her estranged husband in April, while her three children were in the house.
Her ex-husband Brian Earl Johnston – an ex-corporal in the US military – has been charged with her murder and breaching a domestic violence order.
Pictured: Doreen Langham and her ex-partner Gary Hely. Ms Langham’s burnt remains were found in her townhouse
A former Court of Appeal judge, who is leading the taskforce, hopes the discussion paper will generate feedback from the community.
‘We want to hear from victims and survivors of domestic violence,’ she said.
‘Particularly those who have suffered coercive control and acknowledge the courage it takes to share these difficult experiences.’
The taskforce has called for feedback submissions by the end of July, before a report is submitted to Parliament in October.
Recommendations will be presented to the government in March 2022.
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS?
– Utilise the existing legislation in Queensland more effectively.
– Create a mitigating factor in the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) that would require a sentencing court to have regard to whether an offence’s criminal behaviour could in be attributed to the offender being a victim of coercive control.
– Amend the definition of domestic violence under the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2012.
– Create a new offence of ‘cruelty’ in the Criminal Code.
– Amend and rename the existing offence of unlawful stalking in the Criminal Code.
– Create a new standalone ‘coercive control’ offence.
– Create a new offence of ‘commit domestic violence’ in the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2012.
– Create a ‘floating’ circumstance of aggravation in the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 for domestic and family violence.
– Create a specific defence of coercive control in the Criminal Code.
– Amend the Evidence Act 1977 (Qld) to introduce jury directions and facilitate admissibility of evidence of coercive control in similar terms to the amendments contained in the Family Violence Legislation Reform Act 2020 (WA).
– Create a legislative vehicle to establish a register of serious domestic violence offenders.
– Amend the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 or creating a post-conviction civil supervision and monitoring scheme in the penalties and sentences Act 1992 for serious domestic offenders.
– Amend the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 to create ‘Serial family violence offender declarations’ upon conviction based on the Western Australian model.
Source: Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice taskforce