Hannah’s legacy: Laws to brand coercive control as domestic violence

New laws that focus on patterns of behaviour are the first step to coercive control becoming a stand-alone offence as part of Queensland’s domestic violence reforms.

Oct 14, 2022, updated Oct 14, 2022
Domestic violence murder victim Hannah Clarke with her son, Trey.

Domestic violence murder victim Hannah Clarke with her son, Trey.

The legislation is the first resulting from recommendations in the Women’s Safety and Justice task force report Hear Her Voice, and will be introduced to state parliament on Friday.

The reforms would strengthen Queensland’s response to coercive control before the introduction of a stand-alone offence next year, Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said.

“The task force made it very clear that system-wide reform was needed before any new coercive control offence came into effect,” she told parliament.

“The bill to be introduced today is the first step in system-wide reform.”

The legislation will broaden the definition of domestic violence to include patterns of behaviour, not just single incidents.

It will also modernise the definition of unlawful stalking to include intimidation, harassment or abuse.

“This is aimed at better capturing the way that modern technology is being used to control and harass victims,” Fentiman said.

There will also be provisions to strengthen consideration given by courts on domestic violence history, and the use of cross-applications for protection orders.

“We have to make sure that it is the person most in need of protection,” Fentiman said.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Outdated terms that have been in use for more than a century, such as carnal knowledge and maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, will also be updated.

“We must ensure that the language of our laws do not trivialise or soften what are reprehensible actions,” Fentiman said.

Sue and Lloyd Clarke, whose daughter Hannah and her three children were murdered by her estranged husband in 2020, welcomed the move.

“Hannah didn’t know she was in an abusive relationship because she wasn’t being physically harmed, but now the law is closer to recognising the very real danger of coercive control and we are getting closer to outlawing it completely,” Sue Clarke said on Friday.

“I think there was about six or eight iPhones hidden around the house where he would listen to everything she did. He had one in the car watching where she went, so just that alone would have given her a bit of ammunition to having a stalking criminal offence put at him.”

The bill will now be examined by a parliamentary committee before it’s debated in coming months.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14


Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy