History in the Making

Domestic and family violence needs to be everybody’s business. The time has come for a total system overhaul if the Queensland Government wants change.

Caxton acknowledges the Queensland Government’s historic announcement, committing a $363 million package to combat domestic abuse.

The government’s Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce (the Taskforce) was established in December 2021 and is chaired by the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, Caxton Legal Centre’s inspiring patron.

Hear her voice, the Taskforce’s first report, outlined 89 recommendations. The Palaszczuk government is now accountable to action on:

  • systemic reforms across Queensland’s criminal justice system – many legislative amendments, reporting and accountability mechanisms
  • increased awareness raising, improved prevention, early intervention and first-response support services in the community
  • a four-month inquiry into widespread cultural issues within the state’s police service
  • an overhaul of domestic, family and sexual violence service system responses
  • enhancement of Queensland courts to ensure safety of victims
  • focused support and capacity training for integrated service responses and high-risk teams
  • perpetrator interventions and trauma-informed practice frameworks
  • training, education and changing management across the justice system.

This announcement is celebrated by many people – it has been a long time coming. Hear her voice and the recent coronial inquests into the deaths of Doreen Langham, and Hannah Clarke and her children have spotlighted chronically overlooked systems issues. Caxton Legal Centre commits to working with sector partners and government agencies to drive this overdue overhaul. Cybele Koning, CEO Caxton Legal Centre, recipient of the 2021 Dame Quentin Bryce Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate Award, says ‘… the towards-zero approach to violence against women and children is possible. It takes wisdom, courage, kindness and tenacity to carry out the promises made’.

Caxton has many touchpoints with the system, working with both the aggrieved and the perpetrator of domestic and family violence.

‘At the same time we assist women trying to keep themselves and their children safe from violent partners, or older people protecting themselves from abusive family members, we also assist respondents to domestic violence orders and men on bail to behave safely in their relationships and communities. Contemporaneous supports are the key to achieving the zero target’, said Ms Koning.

The Taskforce is due to present a second report in mid-June 2022. All eyes will be watching to see how this announcement plays out on the frontline of service responses to domestic violence.

Caxton Legal Centre is Queensland’s oldest community legal centre. For decades, Caxton has tirelessly advocated and walked alongside victim survivors and families affected by domestic violence.

Caxton Legal Centre provides free and confidential legal help and social work supports. If you or someone you know are affected by domestic violence, contact Caxton on (07) 3214 6333. For more information visit our website at www.caxton.org.au.