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Coercive control and women’s justice reforms set to be delayed

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The Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce has been overwhelmed by the number of submissions it has received and sought more time to respond to the Palaszczuk government with two reports.

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Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Shannon Fentiman, told parliament the taskforce had “wasted no time in canvassing the views of stakeholders and women with a lived experience of violence”.

But with more than 700 submissions received, and consultation around two discussion papers, taskforce chair Margaret McMurdo AC has asked the government for a one month extension to deliver a promised report on coercive control reports, and three months more for a report on women’s experience of the criminal justice system.

“Due to the breadth and complexity of the taskforce’s work, the number of women who have reached out to provide submissions, as well as ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and the inability of the taskforce to travel, the chair has written to me seeking an extension to ensure it fulfils the terms of reference, particularly in relation to engagement and consultation with stakeholders and those with a lived experience,” Fentiman told parliament.

“These are complex issues. Queensland will be the first state to legislate against coercive control and we need to ensure that we get it right to avoid unintended consequences which have been raised by many stakeholders in their submissions. Given the complexity and importance of giving each submission its due diligence, the Queensland government has granted the extension.”

The taskforce will now provide its first report to the government in November and its second in June.

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