798 Queenslanders charged with strangulation in 12 months
894 CHARGES of strangulation have been laid against 798 defendants in the 12 months following the Palaszczuk Government's domestic and family violence law reforms.
The reforms were passed in April last year as part of the government's response to Quentin Bryce's Not Now, Not Ever report on domestic and family violence.
The new strangulation law made choking, strangulating or suffocating a person an offence in its own right, and set a maximum penalty of seven years jail.
A 46-year-old Gladstone man was among the first in the state to be charged under the new offence in May last year.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath said the numbers showed the new law was working.
"Already, in just the first 12 months of it being an offence, we're seeing that this law will be vital to holding perpetrators to account," Mrs D'Ath said.
Similarly to what Gladstone police told The Observer last week about local domestic violence statistics, Mrs D'Ath said the high numbers did not need to be looked on as a negative.
"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," she said.
"We introduced this legislation because strangulation is known to be an important indicator of escalating domestic violence."
The government's response to the report also included introducing legislation which made domestic violence an aggravating factor in sentencing, requiring judges to take the context of the assaults into account.
The past twelve months have also seen 409 applications granted to have previous convictions declared domestic violence offences, to give sentencing judges a more complete picture of defendants' criminal history.
"These important legislative changes are holding perpetrators to account in the short-term, as the community embarks on a broader long-term cultural shift in attitudes on domestic and family violence," Mrs D'Ath said.
"It is early days, and many of these charges have been laid quite recently, but we hope this sends a clear message to perpetrators that domestic and family violence is not tolerated in our society."
May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher attended a service at Barney Point last week to remember the victims of domestic violence in the Gladstone region.
"That scourge is in our community," Mr Butcher said.
"The numbers are up 30% here in Gladstone... people actually now aware that I can ring up someone, I can ring up the police and report that my partner's doing something they shouldn't be doing.
"Gone are the days where people would hear their neighbour getting flogged around and (stay silent), or when you had the bloke in your crib room who has a laugh and tells everyone he smacked his missus around the night before. Those days are over.
"(We're) bringing it out into the open, making sure we get those stories told and those people reported."
Anyone who requires assistance related to domestic and family violence can call DV Connect on 1800 811 811.