The attitudes of Queensland police officers towards domestic violence is set to be analysed ahead of a cultural shake-up.
The government is calling for an organisation to assess attitudes and perceptions to domestic violence among operational police and their immediate supervisors.
The findings will be used to develop a program to be delivered across the Queensland Police Service to create positive cultural change.
The "change package" – to be rolled out across the QPS – will aim to increase police officers' awareness of and understanding of domestic violence and its impact on involved parties, police and the community.
The Not Now, Not Ever report highlighted that public perception of police culture and attitudes to domestic violence were negative.
It noted that police were potentially agents of social change and suggested a positive police attitude could influence community culture.
The Not Now, Not Ever report recommended the Deputy Commissioner of regional operations be appointed to champion best practice domestic and family violence prevention and first-responder practice and create positive cultural change within the QPS.
A QPS spokesman said the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland, chaired by Quentin Bryce, recognised the QPS as an agent of social change, with a vital role in influencing community culture.
The spokesman said although it had implemented the report's recommendation by appointing Deputy Commissioner Brett Pointing as the QPS cultural change champion, there was still significant ongoing activity as part of a broader reform agenda.
"The goal of this agenda is to maintain the momentum of cultural change in the QPS and as a result, the wider community," he said.
The group chosen to perform the contract, now out to tender, will get an office within police headquarters on Roma Street, computer access to the QPS network to obtain relevant information and documents and access to key stakeholders.
After the cultural change package has been delivered, follow-up assessments will be conducted to measure organisational shift in attitude and culture relating to domestic violence policing in the QPS.
Women's Legal Service Queensland chief executive officer Angela Lynch said there was an improvement in the police response to domestic violence since the Not Now, Not Ever report.
But she said there was still room for change.
Ms Lynch said those issues were whether domestic violence was viewed as "not 'real' policing" and a view that victims would end up going back to the perpetrator or recanting their story.
"[The issue is also] in relation to not necessarily treating domestic violence in the same way as a street crime, or somebody walking down the street and being assaulted," Ms Lynch said.
"The police are just members of society like anyone else and so those issues in relation to judgments that are made about victims of domestic violence exist throughout society."
Ms Lynch welcomed the tender for the new project.
"It identifies at the moment all they have is anecdotal information that there is a problem so this will investigate and determine if there is a problem, what is the level of the problem and how best to respond to it," she said.
Currently, about 50 per cent of calls to the Women's Legal Service Queensland go unanswered.
The service needs a commitment of $300,000 per year for three years otherwise its domestic violence legal advice line will be halved from July 1.
Written by Felicity Caldwell and published at http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/attitudes-of-police-to-domestic-violence-under-spotlight-20170605-gwkn0s.html
A DOMESTIC violence victim who was “unable to force” her distressed children to attend school has been convicted and fined after being prosecuted by authorities to “send a message to the community”.
The 57-year-old Greenacres mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday to 10 counts of failing to send her children – aged 13 and 15 – to school.
The Education Department elected to prosecute after her son did not attend a north-eastern suburbs primary school between July and August last year, and her daughter failed to go to her high school in September and October.
A department spokesman said the children did not attend school for about 100 days.
But the case has angered SA domestic violence advocate Arman Abrahimzadeh, who says the real perpetrator in the case was the children’s father.
The Zahra Foundation co-founder — whose mother Zahra was killed by her husband in 2010 — said if the mother was not subjected to violence, her children may not have missed school.
“The perpetrator is a significant person in this court case and they are missing (from the proceedings),” he said. “Where is the perpetrator to take at least half of that punishment?”
Magistrate Elizabeth Sheppard read a letter in court written by the mother, who wrote that she knew education was important.
“You say you had gone through a breakdown of a relationship with the children’s father ... characterised by domestic violence, which the children have witnessed,” she said.
“You believe the children have suffered because of that – both refusing to attend school at times. The stress of forcing the children to attend school ... overwhelmed you, so you allowed them to stay home.”
The department’s lawyer acknowledged that the mother was a domestic violence victim, suffered from mental health issues and struggled financially.
“(But) there should be a conviction recorded — a message needs to be sent to the community of the importance of making every effort possible to make sure children attend school,” he said.
He said the department had offered the mother counselling, transport and support to help her keep the children in school, especially given her son was struggling.
“It’s very difficult for the child to get the help he needs (if he’s not in school),” he said.
“It’s understandable you’re struggling to cope (but) there were resources available to help you.”
When imposing the conviction, which was the “most significant part of the penalty”, judge Sheppard said a message needed to be sent to ensure parents in difficult situations were not neglecting their children by keeping them from school.
She imposed a $300 fine and victims of crimes levies.
The Andrews Labor Government today launched the next step to build a state free from violence, with the release of a Primary Prevention Strategy as part of the Family Violence Rolling Action Plan.
Free from Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to Prevent Family Violence and All Forms of Violence Against Women sets out the path for all Victorians to experience equality and respect in their homes, workplaces and communities.
The Royal Commission recognised the need for a state-wide Primary Prevention Strategy to address the attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence in the home.
Free from Violence takes a world-leading approach to changing the attitudes and behaviours that lead to family violence, and stops the violence from occurring in the first place. An initial investment of $38.7 million has been provided to support its implementation.
The Strategy will be supported by the establishment of a dedicated Prevention Agency to drive focus on prevention over the long-term.
With a further investment of $12 million in the Victorian Budget 2017/18, the Prevention Agency will develop, support and coordinate prevention initiatives across the state.
The Strategy was developed in close consultation with victim-survivors, prevention experts and family violence service providers and in conjunction with the Rolling Action Plan to drive family violence reform.
The Strategy can be found at www.vic.gov.au/familyviolence/prevention-strategy
Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Any form of violence against women in unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We have to change the behaviours of all people who resort to violence and make Victoria a safer place for everyone.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Fiona Richardson
“Free from Violence is our plan for creating a safer Victoria and the dedicated Prevention Agency will ensure we focus on preventing violence before it begins.”
“Changing behaviour will not happen overnight. This Strategy will look beyond the usual whims of electoral budget cycles.”
“What TAC has done for road accidents we want the Prevention Agency to do for family violence. By ensuring long-term behavioural change campaigns, we can change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to family violence in Victoria.”
From the Media Release which can be downloaded from here.