Alexandra Patrikios, AAP
Court orders to protect victims of domestic violence in Queensland were breached almost as many times as police applied for them in 2015.
Statistics obtained by AAP show police made a total of 19,708 applications for domestic violence protection orders last year.
But in the same period, there were almost as many breaches of orders sought by police and private applicants granted by the courts – a total of 19,405 contraventions.
Since January 2013, the number of both applications and violations of protection orders has climbed steadily by thousands each year.
DV Connect chief executive Di Mangan concedes the figures raise the question of what else can be done to protect victims of family violence.
‘Many women are protected by those orders,’ she told AAP.
‘But some men won’t take notice of those orders because their sense of entitlement won’t abide by any law.’
If anything, she said the data drives home the importance of cracking down on first-time breaches for something like a text message to ensure violence doesn’t escalate to a lethal level.
‘I think it comes down to having a very strong culture of zero tolerance,’ she explained.
‘I think if the court comes down hard on the very first breach, I’d be interested to see if we see a turnaround.’
Ms Mangan also stressed the widespread nature of domestic violence, in sharp contrast to former Labor leader Mark Latham’s controversial remarks that the issue was mainly for poverty-stricken ‘men in public housing estates and the Aboriginal communities’.
Last year, state parliamentarians passed reforms to raise maximum penalties for domestic violence order breaches after fast-tracking recommendations from Dame Quentin Bryce’s Not Now, Not Ever report.
Maximum penalties for first-time DVO breaches were increased to three years’ imprisonment and for subsequent breaches to five years.
The reforms followed a spate of horrific family violence attacks in Queensland, including the deaths of two women and a six-year-old girl.
Since then, a parliamentary committee has noted almost half of all homicides in Queensland in the past eight years have been linked to domestic violence.
* People seeking assistance can contact DV Connect Womensline on 1800 811 811 or the Mensline on 1800 600 636.