New laws to tackle DFSV in Queensland

Reforms passed - a group of people standing at the bottom of a staircase in parliament house

New laws to tackle domestic, family and sexual violence in Queensland

The Miles Government has passed landmark reforms that will drive change in the way frontline services and courts respond to domestic, family and sexual violence.

  • New laws passed in the Queensland Parliament will criminalise coercive control, strengthen consent laws and improve the experience of victims in court.
  • These changes will better protect victims of domestic, family and sexual violence, and hold perpetrators to account.
  • The raft of reforms respond to recommendations from the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.

The Criminal Law (Coercive Control and Affirmative Consent) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 passed in the Queensland Parliament today following its introduction in October 2023.

Coercive control is a pattern of abusive behaviours over time that can include emotional, psychological and economic abuse, isolation, intimidation, sexual coercion and cyberstalking.

The abuse has serious and traumatic impacts for a victim. It can be subtle and insidious, and individually targeted and tailored to a victim.

A group of people standing at the bottom of a staircase in parliament house

A group of 8 people standing outside parliament smiling

Once commenced, the new standalone offence of coercive control will carry a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and will criminalise conduct of an adult where:

  • the person is in a domestic relationship with another person;
  • the person engages in a course of conduct against the other person that consists of domestic violence occurring on more than one occasion;
  • the person intends the course of conduct to coerce or control the other person; and
  • the course of conduct would, in all the circumstances, be reasonably likely to cause the other person harm (with ‘harm’ defined in the Bill to mean any detrimental effect on the person’s physical, emotional, financial, psychological or mental wellbeing, whether temporary or permanent).

The Bill will also emend consent laws to ensure they better reflect community expectations of equality and mutual respect in sexual relationships.

Rape myths and narratives around ‘implied consent’ exist in our society. Adopting an affirmative model of consent requires free and voluntary agreement to participate in a sexual activity.

The non-exhaustive list of circumstances where a person does not consent will be expanded. The new laws will also recognise non-consensual condom removal or tampering with a condom – known as ‘stealthing’, as rape.

These reforms are aimed at driving change in the way sexual offences are prosecuted and defended.

Other reforms in the Bill include:

  • introducing jury directions for sexual offence proceedings
  • imposing a duty on the court to disallow improper questions
  • a new offence of engaging in domestic and family violence (DFV) to aid a respondent
  • new aggravating factors for DFV offences and the establishment of a court-based perpetrator diversion scheme.

Work is underway to ensure the community and frontline responders are prepared for the changes to the law before it comes into effect. The coercive control offence will have delayed commencement to allow this critical work to occur.

To help guide community awareness and understanding of coercive control, the Queensland Government has also released the Coercive Control Communication Framework.

The Framework is designed to guide organisations, businesses, and individuals in the community, increasing awareness regarding the nature and impacts of coercive control and domestic and family violence in a trauma informed way, and advising how bystanders can recognise and support victims.

Comprehensive research and consultation were undertaken in 2023 to inform the Framework – helping provide a strong community education program for Queenslanders about all forms of domestic and family violence.

For information about the Coercive Control Communication Framework, visit:

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