‘NOT ENOUGH’: New police directive to tackle DV
A new directive in which Queensland Police are required to attend every domestic violence incident in person has been welcomed by Ipswich's top family violence activists.
Domestic Violence Action Centre (DVAC) CEO Amie Carrington this week said the significant overhaul announced last month as part of an internal review into police protocol was a recognition of the "systemic failures of Queensland Police" in tackling the issue.
The new mandate comes just weeks following several alleged domestic violence-related deaths which rocked Australia, including Brown Plains woman Doreen Langham and Gold Coast mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson.
Ms Langham was allegedly killed in a house fire believed to be deliberately lit by her ex-partner Gary Hely in February.
Ms Wilkinson, 27, was reportedly discovered in the backyard of her Arundel home last month having suffered fatal burns.
It is understood both women had been in daily contact with police regarding concerns about their safety in the lead up to their deaths.
Tragically, the incidents appear to be among the many preventable DV deaths reported in Queensland.
New data by DVAC - an emergency service available to victims - recently revealed an 18 per cent increase in clients across Ipswich since 2018.
The number of survivors seeking Sexual Violence Services also reportedly increased by 55 per cent spike during the same period.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd, who has spearheaded the QPS task force since February, confirmed officers would now be required to attend domestic violence incidents in person even if there was no perceived threat.
According to Queensland Police, triple-0 calls are assigned a code from one to five in terms of urgency, with code one being the most serious.
Emergency calls assigned either a code four or five status do not require police to attend in person, with negotiations reportedly permitted to take place over the phone.
Ms Langham reportedly called triple-0 hours before the fire was lit to tell police Mr Hely had breached a protection order.
READ MORE: Cops raise concerns over new DV rule
Her call was assigned a code three, with police attending the address some hours later.
Ms Carrington said the latest development was a step in the right direction, but not enough.
She said DVAC supported the call for a full and independent review into the systemic failures of the police response to both Ms Wilkinson and Ms Langham's alleged murders.
"We have not seen a reduction in the number of women murdered by their current or past intimate partners and this needs to change," Ms Carrington said.
"Taking incidents of domestic violence seriously and believing victims is a very important part of an effective police response," she said.
She said the organisation worked closely with police and appreciated the great outcomes that had previously been achieved.
"However more needs to be done to reduce intimate partner deaths in Queensland and the understand the systemic failings that are resulting in the deaths of innocent people."
"We commend the Attorney-General, Shannon Fentiman for the QLD Government establishment of the Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce and the commitment to an open and accessible process, welcoming submissions from the broader community and we encourage community members to have their voice. https://www.womenstaskforce.qld.gov.au/"
Read more stories by Kaitlyn Smith here.