This is the lifesaving, world-changing work of Gael Strack and our amazing Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention staff and faculty! Gael Strack, Casey Gwinn, Bill Smock, Jim Henderson, Ralph Riviello, Mike Agnew, Mike Wallace, Bill Green, Dan Rincon, Leslie Hagen, Jerry Fineman, Kelsey McKay, Eugene Hyman, Bill Denton, Jill Rable, Kim Nash, Sarah Sherman Julien, Brett Johnson, Yesenia Aceves, and Michael Burke are just a few of the names of the TISP faculty and staff members that have trained and disseminated materials and videos all over the country and around the world for us to help move the dial! Congratulations to our determined allies and friends in Queensland, Australia!
This is homicide prevention!
Almost 800 people have been charged with strangulation offenses in Queensland in the past year amid a domestic violence crackdown.
Figures released by the state government on Sunday show 798 people have been charged with a combined 894 counts of non-fatal strangulation since the offense was introduced to Queensland’s criminal code a year ago. Strangulation was added as a standalone offense because it is known to be an indicator of escalating domestic violence.
The attorney general, Yvette D’Ath, said the law allowed authorities to offer better protection to victims.
“Already, in just the first 12 months of it being an offense, we’re seeing that this law will be vital to holding perpetrators to account,” D’Ath said.
“I think it’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean more cases, rather that we’re able to identify the specific nature of the assault, and that people feel more able to come forward.”
The offence, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail, was added to the code as part of a string of legal reforms, including the trial of a domestic violence court on the Gold Coast, that were introduced in response to Dame Quentin Bryce’s Not Now, Not Ever report on domestic violence.
Meanwhile, doctors in New South Wales will now be able to refer suspected victims of domestic violence to welfare services with or without patient consent.
The referrals will only be made if a GP assesses that a patient’s life or safety is at risk. Suspected victims will also be able to consult their doctor before making an official report.
It’s hoped the new measures – which are part of an expansion of the NSW government’s Safer Pathway programs – will provide victims with another avenue to seek help without fear of retribution, the minister for the prevention of domestic violence, Pru Goward, announced on Sunday.
“Many domestic violence victims do not report the violence they are experiencing to police or other specialist services, but they do seek medical attention and help from their GPs,” she said. “Giving GPs the ability to refer patients to Safer Pathway means they can provide victims with support when they need it the most.”
Under the program, doctors will first refer patients experiencing domestic violence to their nearest “local coordination point”. Victims will then be directed to a range of services including counseling, housing, financial assistance, legal assistance and security and safety upgrades.
However, the Australian Medical Association NSW vice president, Kean-Seng Lim, warned that doctors risk causing harm by interfering in domestic violence situations without the consent of their patient.
“It’s already a very difficult situation for a victim of domestic violence, and we would want to make sure we are not disempowering someone or making the situation more difficult by disclosing something without the victim’s consent,” he said.
• The national domestic violence helpline is 1800 737 732 or 1800 RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.