By: Gail Burke

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA – Laws have been passed that make non-fatal strangulation and suffocation a new, separate offence in Queensland in a bipartisan move to reduce domestic violence.

State Parliament last night passed the changes, which could see offenders jailed for seven years.

“The new offence reflects that this sort of violence is not only inherently dangerous, but is predictive of an escalation in domestic violence offending, including homicide,” Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said.

“The new offence acknowledges the importance in identifying this conduct to assist law enforcement and related agencies in assessing risks to victims and increasing protections for them.”

The new offence was one of the recommendations of the Special Taskforce on Domestic Violence report Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic Violence in Queensland.

Ms D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government also passed amendments to the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 to make domestic violence an aggravating factor on sentence.

“This will require judicial officers to consider the context in which domestic violence offences occur, and in doing so, consider imposing a higher sentence that is within the usual range but not above the maximum penalty,” Ms D’Ath said.

Anti-domestic violence campaigners have welcomed the passing of new laws that create offences for non-fatal choking, suffocation and strangulation.

Di Mangan from support group DV Connect said it was a welcome result after years of lobbying.

“This will be a good day around the domestic violence sectors, particularly the domestic violence action group that’s made up of service providers of families of women who’ve been murdered.”

Domestic violence is increasing in the state — the number of reported incidents rose from 58,000 in 2011-12 to 66,000 in 2013-14, equating to more than 180 incidents every day.

In 2012-13, there were 17 homicides, and late last year community outrage was sparked by the public killing of two women and the death of a young girl in the same week.

Click to See the Full Article Here: Domestic violence laws passed in Queensland to Make Non-fatal Strangulation a Separate Offence