Her Honour Judge Deborah Richards will be appointed to lead the Commission of Inquiry to examine Queensland Police Service responses to domestic and family violence.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the landmark inquiry has been established in response to a key recommendation of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.
“I want to acknowledge the dedicated work of all officers in the Queensland Police Service who help women and children escape violence every day. We know this increasingly makes up a large portion of their workload,” the Premier said.
“However, the issues raised by survivors with the Taskforce require further investigation to ensure all women feel confident they’re being listened to.”
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the Commission of Inquiry would find ways to improve how police respond to women who are trapped in an abusive and controlling relationship.
“Hundreds of survivors told their story to the Taskforce – we have heard their voices, and we will consider any improvements that can be made,” Minister Fentiman said.
“We know the system needs to identify these dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour earlier.” Minister Fenitman said.
The Terms of Reference task the Commission to consider the following matters:
- whether there is, and if so, the extent and nature of, any cultural issues within the Queensland Police Service (QPS) relating to the investigation of domestic and family violence identified in the Report
- examine how any cultural issues identified within the QPS relating to the investigation of domestic and family violence have contributed to the overrepresentation of First Nations people in the criminal justice system
- assess the capability, capacity and structure of the QPS to respond to domestic and family violence, having regard to initiatives undertaken by the QPS in responses to previous reports and events
- examine the adequacy of the current conduct and complaints handling processes against officers to ensure community confidence in the QPS; and
- any other matter the Commission considers relevant for consideration to deliver its Report.
Judge Richards will be supported by Counsel Assisting Pat McCafferty QC to conduct the inquiry. Judge Richards is the President of the Childrens Court of Queensland and a Judge of the District Court, she is also a former crown prosecutor and public defender.
Judge Richards also served as a member of the Taskforce on Women in the Criminal Code in 1998.
The Commission of Inquiry will begin on May 30th 2022 and is expected to take four months.
$3.4 million has been allocated to support it.