Sarah Vogler – The Courier Mail – QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA – It is a terrifying signal of escalating domestic violence and now it will finally become an offence in Queensland.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath will this week introduce laws making non-fatal strangulation an offence in its own right, attracting a sentence of up to seven years in jail.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the proposed new laws would make choking, strangling or suffocating a person an offence, reflecting a key recommendation of the domestic violence taskforce’s Not Now, Not Ever report.

“We know strangulation is a pivotal moment that reveals an escalation in the seriousness of the violence committed against a person in the context of domestic and family violence,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“This new offence is about holding perpetrators to account for their actions.”

The Not Now, Not Ever report called for the new offence after submissions were received indicating there was a gap in the Criminal Code.

“Strangulation is a very common feature of domestic and family violence and is also seen as a predictive risk factor for future more severe domestic and family violence and for homicide,” the report said.
Last week’s White Ribbon Day parade led by three sisters, Alice, Aminda and Anna Huynh, who lost their mother to domestic violence. Picture: Ian Svegovic
“The introduction of a separate offence for strangulation, which is not limited by association with a further crime, would allow for better recording of domestic and family violence incidents leading to better risk assessment and increased protection of victims.”

Mrs D’Ath will also move to make domestic violence an aggravating factor in the sentencing of offenders.

“This will have the effect of requiring judicial officers to consider the context in which domestic violence offences occur, and in doing so, to consider imposing a higher sentence which is within the usual range but not above the maximum penalty,” she said.

Other changes include reinstating the ability for courts to receive submissions from the prosecution and defence on the range and appropriateness of sentences for offenders.

Also this week, Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman will shepherd further changes to domestic violence laws through State Parliament including changes to compel magistrates to consider ousting culprits from their home to allow their victims to remain in safety.

Two MPs who gave heart-wrenching accounts of how domestic violence had impacted on their lives will also hold a White Ribbon event at Parliament this week.

Ferny Grove MP Mark Furner, who has told of rescuing his daughter from a controlling relationship, will host the event on Tuesday while Dr Anthony Lynham and a former patient who was bashed by her partner will give accounts of the impacts of violence.

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