Family violence
Family violence Generic

Fight against domestic abuse begins again in Queensland

THE next stage of Queensland's push to end family abuse begins this week, with the State Government to introduce legislation to Parliament that will make the domestic violence order process easier on victims and police.

The government will also roll out a "comprehensive information sharing framework" so all of police, courts and domestic and family violence services can better assess the risks facing victims and manage those risks for safer outcomes.

But the Opposition has questioned the usefulness of orders for victims.

Drawing on recommendations made in last year's Not Now, Not Ever report, the new laws mean courts will soon automatically issue five-year DVOs unless there is a pressing reason for them to be shorter.

Currently, victims must apply for DVOs every two years.

The orders will be tailored to each victim's needs and will take into account existing family law orders regarding children.

It will also be much easier and faster for police to take out DVOs on behalf of victims.

Frontline workers believe Australia's domestic violence epidemic has killed at least 31 people nationwide this year, nine of those deaths were in Queensland.

"These tragedies are totally unacceptable," said Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Minister Shannon Fentiman.

"They are a reminder that we must do more if we are to keep women and children in Queensland safe from domestic violence."

Ms Fentiman said the information sharing plan was a vital move in the war on domestic violence.

"Importantly, these amendments will allow information to be shared between agencies to help manage and mitigate any risk a victim may face as a result of domestic violence," she said.

Shadow minister for domestic and family violence prevention Ros Bates said too many DVOs were being breached.

"Domestic violence orders are not worth the paper they are written on if the consequences of breaching these orders is not enforced," she said.

"In 2014-15 we saw more than 16,600 breaches of domestic violence orders recorded by police, an increase of 14% from the previous year.

"The government has had this report for more than 12 months, so you have to question why it has taken this long to see these changes brought forward."

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 will be introduced this week.

*For 24-hour support phone Queensland's DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or MensLine on 1800 600 636, or the national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). - ARM NEWSDESK

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