Let’s name and shame our DV thugs
WIFE bashers can hide their violence behind closed doors due to an archaic Queensland law that keeps their identities secret.
Domestic violence campaigners are demanding that Queensland join other states and territories in unmasking thugs who breach domestic violence orders.
The call for change follows the murder of Brisbane woman Hannah Clarke and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, whose father burned them to death after breaching a DVO this month.
Beyond DV founder Carolyn Robinson said yesterday that naming and shaming repeat domestic violence offenders could make them think twice about hurting a partner.
"Men who abuse multiple women should lose their right to anonymity,'' she said yesterday.
"Men can hold reputable positions in our society but still be terrorising women behind closed doors and no one is the wiser.''
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced a summit on domestic violence at the end of next month and flagged the opening of a specialist DV court in Brisbane as a "key priority''.
She said the State Government would "have a look at'' changing the disclosure laws for domestic violence.
"Everybody is overwhelmed by the tragic event of what happened to Hannah and her three children - everybody's feeling it,'' she told The Courier-Mail.
Queensland Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer, yesterday said many people had raised concerns about DVO breaches since the Camp Hill murders.
"There's still so much more to do and we have to look at everything,'' she told The Courier-Mail.
Ms Farmer said DV offenders often were "the person you least expect''.
"They are incredibly manipulative people and very good at making themselves look like the good person in the relationship,'' she said. "We will have a look at (allowing disclosure).''
More than 13,000 DV offenders were convicted of breaching a DVO in Queensland in 2018/19, with 4788 jailed, 3671 fined and 2985 given a community service order.
But their identities remain secret because, in Queensland, anyone who identifies a convicted offender or their victim can be jailed for two years for breaching the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act.
The only exception is if everyone involved in the case agrees to be named or the court makes an order to that effect, if they all die in murder-suicide, or the perpetrator is convicted of another crime, such as break and enter, at the same time as the DVO breach.
However, DV offenders can be identified once they breach a DVO in NSW, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory.
National Children's Commissioner Megan Mitchell said some domestic violence "happens again and again without consequences''.
"We have to get serious about responding to breaches of DVOs - there have to be consequences,'' she said.
Ms Mitchell said women who abuse children or partners should also be held to account. "Women abuse children too, women can be violent too,'' she said.
Women's Legal Services Queensland president Angela Lynch said the secrecy clause should be looked at as part of a full review of DV in the context of criminal justice.
She called for police monitoring of high-risk offenders and more money for refuges, counselling and legal services.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.