Queensland to pass new domestic violence law in parliament

Queensland to pass new domestic violence law

Queensland to pass new domestic violence law in parliament

Queensland is set to pass a new domestic violence law known as “Hannah’s Law” to tackle coercive control in parliament. Coercive control is a type of domestic abuse in which someone uses manipulation, threats, or other tactics to dominate another person in a relationship.

Hannah’s Law is a historic legislation motivated by the deaths of Hannah Clarke and her children. The background of this incident dates back to February 2020 when the estranged husband of Hannah, Rowan Baxter launched a horrible firebombing attack. As a result, Hannah and her children died.

The tragic deaths provoked significant mourning and broader debate on the impact of national service in preventing domestic, family, coercive control, and sexual (DFS) abuse. Hence, the Queensland government has set to pass a new domestic violence law against coercive control.

According to the new law, the person guilty of coercive control will have a maximum punishment of 14 years imprisonment. However, the person is subject to coercive control charge if:

  • a person is in a domestic relationship and engages in domestic violence on multiple occasions
  • someone intends to force or control the other person
  • any harm to the emotional, physical, financial, or mental well-being state of the partner

The Law also includes the following reforms:

  • Introducing jury directions for sexual offense proceedings
  • Making the court’s duty to disallow improper questions regarding sensitive topics
  • Creating a new crime of domestic and family (FDV) to help the victim

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Unlike other obvious types of domestic violence, coercive control involves a pattern of behavior that includes emotional, psychological, and economic abuse. In addition, isolation, intimidation, sexual abuse, and cyberstalking also come under coercive control.

However, Hannah’s case inquiry revealed her estranged husband Rowan used to impose controlling and abusive behavior towards his wife. He sexually abused Hannah and berated her body image. So, this led to their separation but Rowan did not even leave her alone and stalked her after the split.

According to this law, coercive control will become a criminal offense in Queensland. The law is a significant historic step of government that will strengthen women throughout the state in the fight against domestic abuse. This law will come into effect next year to raise awareness of this crucial issue.

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