John Gomez

Tougher penalties for domestic violence thugs

TOUGHER penalties for Queensland domestic violence thugs are one step closer but the community has just 10 days to have its say on the proposed laws.

The State Government today releases a discussion paper seeking comment on its new strangulation offence.

It is also calling for community input on harsher sentencing for crimes linked to intimate partner, domestic and family abuse.

The move follows APN Australian Regional Media's ongoing Terror at Home campaign, which has been lobbying for a tougher government stance on the epidemic since February.

About 63 Australian women have been allegedly killed by their partners, former partners or other family members this year.

Queensland's only domestic violence hotline is taking 400 calls a day from women in crisis.

The State Government's discussion paper says introducing "a circumstance of aggravation of domestic and family violence" will see perpetrators cop tougher punishment for their crimes.

"The amendments in the Criminal Law (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill 2015 provide for charges for any criminal offence to indicate that they occurred in a domestic and family violence context and for convictions to be recorded as such on a person's criminal history," the report says.

Domestic violence expert Professor Heather Douglas told the QT earlier this year that strangulation was often present in domestic violence cases.

The University of Queensland academic said it was often a precursor to attempted or actual murder.

She said perpetrators were rarely prosecuted for the crime because it left little bruising or other marks so authorities and doctors were unaware it was occurring.

The new laws were among 140 recommendations put forward in February in the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence's Not Now, Not Ever report.

Details: http://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au.

# If you need support call Womensline on 1800 811 811, Mensline on 1800 600 636 or 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.



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