Clare's Law to disclose domestic violence history endorsed
A PROPOSAL to allow people access to their partner's history of domestic violence and sexual assaults has been cautiously welcomed by representatives of Sunshine Coast domestic violence services.
But they also warn allowing access to people's criminal records could also open up a privacy can of worms.
The State Opposition has sought public feedback on the proposal.
The idea is modelled on the United Kingdom's Clare's Law, named after a woman who was murdered by her violent partner shortly after contacting police, who were unable to disclose anything about his history.
The State Government has described the Opposition's proposal as "premature".
But Caloundra locals involved in domestic violence services were amenable to the idea when Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle and shadow minister for communities, child safety and disability services, Tracy Davis, met with them yesterday.
Do you believe people should be able to look up their partner's domestic violence history?
This poll ended on 30 July 2015.
Yes, partners have a right to know if they have suspicions
No, it's a total violation of privacy
I'm not sure, people can change, history means nothing
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Ms Davis said she was aware of possible privacy issues but the feedback was that "the safety of the community should outweigh privacy".
Marilyn Holness, chair of the RISE project to establish domestic violence accommodation in the Caloundra area, said there were potential problems with how someone's previous convictions could be shared but a Clare's Law had merit.
"Our first concern has to be the safety of women... and this could improve that," Ms Holness said.
"Jean", who has worked in domestic violence in the Caloundra area for 30 years, said a law allowing people to know if their partner had a violent history could help reduce risk.
"Anything's got to help." Mr McArdle said a version of Clare's Law would be "one more tool" to use against domestic and family violence.
He said there were 24 domestic violence orders issued in Caloundra Magistrates Court in a month.
"It will not solve the problem but there is a step-by-step process that reduces the risk factors," he said.
"We need to focus on how to stop domestic violence occurring in the first place, and that's going back to education and respect - respect to each other."
Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman said the Government was focused on the 140 recommendations in a report by former Queensland governor Quentin Bryce last year, and a Clare's Law was not one of them.
Ms Fentiman said the state would monitor how the law was used in New South Wales and the United Kingdom.
To provide feedback on the proposal, go to clareslawqld.com.
- One in six Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.
- One in 19 Australian men has experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a current of former partner.