The number of domestic violence breaches in Queensland has skyrocketed, with police saying they must do more after a string of horrifying incidents.
The number of domestic violence breaches in Queensland has skyrocketed, with police saying they must do more after a string of horrifying incidents.

Graph shows domestic violence shame

Queensland's shameful record of domestic violence order breaches has been laid bare, with damning statistics revealing they've doubled in the past six years despite fewer DVO applications through the courts.

The revelation comes in the week Doreen Langham was killed in a house fire along with her partner who she had taken out a domestic violence order on just weeks before.

The state's crime statistics show in January there were 3175 reported breaches of domestic violence protection orders (DVPO), more than double the number logged in January 2015 when 1482 were recorded.

Doreen Langham died when her unit was engulfed in flames on Monday morning. Her ex-partner, who she had taken a DVO against, was found dead in the same unit. Picture: Supplied
Doreen Langham died when her unit was engulfed in flames on Monday morning. Her ex-partner, who she had taken a DVO against, was found dead in the same unit. Picture: Supplied

The year-on-year records are equally concerning, with the number of reported DVPO breaches skyrocketing 85 per cent between 2015-2020, from 19,299 to 35,838.

Former Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said the figures were "extremely disturbing" and showed how some domestic violence offenders had total disregard for the law and the courts.

"It's extremely disturbing because it shows both a pattern of lawlessness and an increasing disregard for, and contempt of, the court," the leading criminal barrister said.

Former Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said the figures were disturbing. Picture: Annette Dew
Former Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said the figures were disturbing. Picture: Annette Dew

"If you drill down, it may be a small number who are making a large number of breaches, and police, to their credit, are bringing all of the breaches before the court."

The increase in breaches comes despite some 4000 fewer DVO applications being made in Queensland's courts during almost the same timeframe.

From a five-year high of 32,268 in 2015-16, there were 28,312 applications lodged for a DVO in 2019-20.

An emotional Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said following Ms Langham's death that he would lead a review into the "entire set" of circumstances leading up to the tragedy.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski became emotional about the death of Doreen Langham just hours after police visited her regarding a DVO breach call-out. Picture: Jono Searle
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski became emotional about the death of Doreen Langham just hours after police visited her regarding a DVO breach call-out. Picture: Jono Searle

 

"Despite Not Now, Not Ever, despite what we've learnt and seen in other instances such as Tara Brown and Hannah Clarke and her children, here we are again, where a person who is a victim of violence has needed protection and we have not been able to help her," he said.

"We are not satisfied. It's unacceptable that even one slips through the cracks.

"We have to change this … Everyone has to stand up and say we won't accept this, we need to do better."

Just days before Ms Langham's death, a vigil was held for Hannah Clarke and her three daughters who were burned to death by her ex-partner in February 2020.

Up until January 31 this financial year, there have been 16,249 DVO applications made through the courts, with 73.4 per cent of those on behalf of women, 26.4 per cent men and 0.1 per cent "unknown".

Hannah Clarke and her three children were killed by her ex-husband in February 2020. Picture: Supplied
Hannah Clarke and her three children were killed by her ex-husband in February 2020. Picture: Supplied

 

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the government had invested in 24 domestic and family violence co-ordinators as well as 600 additional police to bolster the force's numbers.

"QPS are constantly reviewing and improving their processes regarding DV matters," she said.

"For example, police launched Operation Sierra Alessa in August last year - an intensive statewide pilot over two months that specifically targeted repeat offenders.

"Its aim is to disrupt the behaviour of serious domestic violence perpetrators, reach out to victims and connect them with partner support agencies.

"This pilot led to a 56 per cent reduction in domestic and family violence occurrences in the target cohort."

She said other police initiatives included a online DV reporting tool for non-life-threatening matters and Mr Gollschewski overseeing the delivery of domestic and family violence reforms.

QUEENSLAND'S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORDER BREACHES:

Queensland police crime stats of breaches of domestic violence prevention orders have doubled since January 2015. Picture: Queensland Crime Statistics via NCA NewsWire
Queensland police crime stats of breaches of domestic violence prevention orders have doubled since January 2015. Picture: Queensland Crime Statistics via NCA NewsWire

 

JANUARY YEAR-ON-YEAR

Jan 2015: 1482

Jan 2016: 2135

Jan 2017: 2271

Jan 2018: 2426

Jan 2018: 2552

Jan 2020: 2995

Jan 2021: 3175
*Source: Queensland Crime Statistics

YEAR-ON-YEAR
2015: 19,299

2016: 25,032

2017: 25,622

2018: 27,462

2019: 30,705

2020: 35,838

* Source: Queensland Crime Statistics

DVO APPLICATIONS: STATEWIDE (FINANCIAL YEAR)

2015-16: 32,268

2016-17: 32,097

2017-18: 30,403

2018-19: 30,303

2019-20: 28,312

2020-21: 16,246 (Jan 31)

* Source: Queensland Courts - applications can be made by police, courts or privately

Originally published as Graph shows Queensland's DV shame

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the government was pouring resources into the prevention of domestic and family violence and to assist victims. Picture: Liam Kidston
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the government was pouring resources into the prevention of domestic and family violence and to assist victims. Picture: Liam Kidston


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