The promise from the Palaszczuk government is part of a $363 million package to double down on offenders and will include a commission of inquiry into how police handle and respond to domestic violence cases.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called the new ruling “a historic day” for Queensland families.
“Coercive control is the most common factor leading up to intimate partner homicide,” the premier said.
“This is a very significant step.”
Coercive control includes behavior like isolating a victim from loved ones, monitoring and controlling their activity, financial control, threats, intimidation and emotional or psychological abuse.
The new package will work on the prevention, identification and punishment of coercive control and will include educational strategies to help identify abusive behaviours.
“We need more education so the community understands what coercive control is so they can identify the signs and take action,” Palaszczuk said.
The offense of stalking will be tightened and $106 million will be committed to protecting victims in court.
The four-month commission of inquiry will address how police assist victims and deal with reports of domestic abuse, which make up a significant portion of policing work.
Police will trial conduct responses with specialist domestic violence services.
Former Queensland police commissioner Bob Atkinson said the changes were a step in the right direction.
“I think its a long journey,” he said.
“While men can be victims of domestic violence the vast, vast majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women and I think fundamentally what we need to do is change the views, beliefs and behaviors of those men towards women.
“That won’t happen overnight but this is a very big step.”
He added ten women are hospitalized in Queensland a day due to abuse from their partners.
According to Counting Dead Women Australia, 18 women have already lost their lives at the hands of a partner this year while approximately one woman a week is killed in Australia due to domestic violence.
The parents of Hannah Clarke, who was burned to death in her car with her three children by her estranged partner, believe coercive control laws could have saved the young mum.
Lloyd and Sue Clarke have been pushing for the criminalization of coercive control since their daughter’s death in 2020.
“A very emotional day for us. This is why we fought, especially for Hannah to give our poor angels a voice and make change,” Mr Clarke said.
“We’re also very grateful they’re putting money in to education for kids who need to know what a better relationship is like, a healthy relationship and also to the police force.”
“Now we just need to work on the other state,” Ms Clarke said.
Not all women’s safety advocates have pushed for reform.
There has been criticism from groups who questioned the terms of reference of the inquiry and expressed concern that the creation of a new criminal offense could further criminalize certain women, particularly Aboriginal women experiencing violence.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
In an emergency, call 000.
The Men’s Referral Service is aimed at men who need help to stop violent or controlling behaviour, but it also supports victims and families. You can call on 1300 766 491