My question is for the Minister for Workplace Safety, representing the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence. Queensland has just announced that it will criminalise coercive control through a standalone offence. We all know the tragic outcome for Hannah Clarke and her children after her ex-husband devastatingly took their lives. Whilst we are yet to see the fine print of this legislation, this is a fantastic step in recognising that family violence is not always incident based. But this is not what our courts often decide on; they regularly prosecute one incident and base a sentence around that rather than sentencing on the course of conduct by the offender. The government agreed to Ms Maxwell’s motion late last year which was centred around exploring course-of-conduct offending. We are now in May, and we are yet to receive any update on this. Therefore, Minister, in lieu of committing to criminalising coercive control in Victoria, will this government commit to course-of-conduct laws for family violence cases?
Thank you, Minister. Recommendation 57 of the Queensland report stated that Queensland should change its laws:
… to specify that where a party has intentionally used proceedings as a means of committing or continuing domestic and family violence including coercive control, the court has the power to award costs against them.
Queensland’s response to this was that they will:
… progress amendments to the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 to specify that the court has the power to award costs in cases where a party has intentionally used proceedings as a means of perpetrating domestic and family violence.
This is fantastic news. We know that perpetrators will use any means possible to try to inflict pain and suffering on their victims.
My supplementary question is: will the minister explore this recommendation and how it might translate to Victorian legislation?