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Tougher penalties needed for domestic violence perpetrators

By Cassandra Pullos - posted Friday, 18 November 2016

Domestic violence has become such a scourge in the community, our lawmakers must impose tougher penalties for DV offenders.

A radical solution is needed because, despite all of the talk and good intentions, the incidence of domestic violence continues to be on the rise.

Statistics tell us that last year 80 women were killed by their partners. So far this year the total is 66 homicides. For female homicide victims nationally, 23 per cent die as a result of domestic violence. In Queensland's it's worse at 44 per cent. In the 10 year period of 2002- 2012 there were 654 women victims of intimate partner homicide in Australia. Those statistics will be higher when they incorporate children, male victims and extended family victims.


The figures are horrifying. If these statistics related to street violence the community and government response would be immediate and dramatic.

Following the recent Council of Australian Governments Family Violence summit in Brisbane, talk of round table discussions on domestic violence is a start in developing a consistent approach across different community and legislative responses.

I believe domestic violence is so widespread and ingrained, it needs a whole of Government and Community approach to eradicate it. Up until now various groups and agencies were working almost independently and in isolation on DV solutions.

The current splintered approach needs to refocus around a robust policy to deter and appropriately punish domestic violence offenders as well as protect victims and the community.

The current move to round table discussions is a great initiative that should bring some longer term outcomes– but it isn't enough in the immediate term. Our community and our families need and deserve an immediate response.

Legislators should bring in a stronger, better co-ordinated raft of sentences for domestic violence and sexual assaults of children as a clear statement of the community's stance against DV.


Tougher penalties should apply to those domestic violence offences that would qualify as criminal charges. They would cover assault, murder, and sexual abuse including rape of a partner.

The issue has become so extreme that it has prompted discussion by some political parties of dismantling the entire family court system.

Domestic violence is not a new issue within Australia. Worryingly, even alarming statistics don't capture the extent of physical abuse, let alone the often equally as damaging psychological aspects of DV. Unfortunately, the separation of personal and public spheres has kept violence a secret within homes for far too long.

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About the Author

Cassandra Pullos is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and Director of Gold Coast specialist family law firm Pullos Lawyers.

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