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What’s Good For the Goose is Good For the Gander

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”
– Robert Kennedy

As our Acting Police Minister so eloquently stated today our Police Officers should be recognised by Queenslanders for their significant contribution to our community.  Their role puts them at risk on a daily basis.  Any strategy that upholds their safety as well as human rights is welcome.  Clearly thus far there is demonstration that holding perpetrators of violence against Police to account has worked.  It is essential to maintain and enhance this position as stated today in our acting Police Minister’s Media Release:

Treasurer and Minister for State Development and Trade
The Honourable Andrew Fraser
28/06/2011

Statement from the Acting Police Minister

Any assault on a police officer is unacceptable. All Queenslanders should recognise and respect the work of our police officers, who put themselves in harm’s way every single day.

In 2008, this Government introduced laws that now see assaults on public officers constitute a serious assault punishable by seven years imprisonment.

Offences of spitting, biting or throwing bodily fluids at an officer are also classified as a serious assault.

These laws are sending a strong message to the community. Over the past five years the rate of reported assaults on police has decreased by nearly 50%.

The statistics show that in 2006, for every 1000 officers, 312 were assaulted in the course of the year. In 2010, that rate has dropped to 222 per 1000 officers.

Any debate must start with the facts, and the facts are that the rate of assaults on police has declined significantly over the last five years.

What we’ve seen from Campbell Newman today is yet another different position to others he’s held in recent months. He doesn’t seem able to maintain a position on any issue from one day to the next.

Media contact: 3224 5982

Enhancing the current position stated by our Police Minister to include other significant persons in our community who are also in the line of fire daily would be a further significant step towards genuine safety for our most ‘under fire’ Queenslanders.

Whilst other citizens ‘under fire’ may not necessarily be so due to their profession but rather due to their desire to protect and uphold justice or because they are a target of persons who have power issues and are inclined to perpetrate, their need for laws to hold perpetrators to account is just as profound. The Acting Minister’s statements agree with what domestic violence experts have been arguing for decades – if you hold perpetrators to account when they are exercising power over others (even those deemed to have some power of their own) the instances of abuse will decline.

The following is an optimistically forecast Media Release for our government leaders to make a reality soon:

A Joint Statement from the Premier and Police Minister

Any assault on a woman by a partner or former partner or known associate is unacceptable. All Queenslanders should recognise and respect the contribution of women in both their professional and private lives, especially those experiencing domestic violence and/or protecting children, who are in harm’s way every single day.

In 2011, this Government introduced laws that now see domestic assaults and other violence against women including sexualised violence constitute a serious assault punishable by seven years imprisonment.

Offences of spitting, biting, financial or emotional abuse or throwing bodily fluids at a partner or former partner are also classified as a serious assault.

These laws are sending a strong message to the community. Since their introduction the rate of reported domestic assaults on women has decreased by nearly 50%.

According to the 2005 ABS statistics 33% of women over the age of 15 experienced physical violence and 19% of women experienced sexual violence. That is one in three women who have experienced physical abuse and one in five who have experienced sexual violence.  These statistics don’t account for the significant number of young women and children aged under 15 years who have experienced significant abuse including sexualised violence.

In 2012 having almost halved that rate, it has dropped to 16% of women.   We need to continue our focused response on this decline in domestic assault numbers. Any debate must start with the facts, and the facts are that the rate of assaults on women has declined significantly since we declared and then ensured that perpetrators would be held to account.

It is the same/same – but different.  Or is it?  The messages are almost identical but statistical information, whilst accurate, is altered to remain relevant to the facts of the specifics at hand (and clearly the projected 2012 outcome is a vision).

Imagine a government supported by a community that sets really clear boundaries on the zero right to perpetrate violence against a partner, former partner or the mother of perpetrator’s children?  Most significantly, imagine being part of a community insistent on a government that ensures that perpetrators are accountable and their victims and children are supported to safety?  Now, there’s an idea.  Let’s be that community that places pressure on our leaders to ensure safety and well-being for children and their families. That means ensuring perpetrators are held to account and then supported in their recovery and rehabilitation and their partners (pre, current or post) and children are supported to find safety and holistically assisted in their healing and recovery also.

If we collectively insist it will be so, then it can be so.

Lorraine Dupree – Policy and Research Manager – PeakCare

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great post Lorraine! I have to admit when I saw this media release I had a strong reaction to it. Without a question I think the parallel you have drawn to the violence which is routinely occurring to women (and other vulnerable people) is part of that. However I am also put off in light of the recent media stories about police officers who are doing the victimizing, often whilst on duty.

    Consider last week’s MS magazine article, To Serve and Protect – and Sexually Assault. Lest we think this is an American issue, and doesn’t happen here in Australia, we only need to look to our recent news, Queensland State Government settles out of court with woman assaulted in Maroochydore watch-house by two police officers, in the courier mail. These are only a couple of examples of appalling, abusive behaviour by those who are sworn to protect. We could also look at the routine reports of physical assault by police against those taken into custody, or who just find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, with rogue police officers.

    Whilst I absolutely agree, police officers need to be protected from harm in the course of their work (and who doesn’t?!) I am left wondering who protects citizens from the police? Furthermore, how do we expect due justice in a system, which consistently seems to be biased in favour of the police (and others in positions of power) and against those people who are vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed.

    I’d like to see some media releases from the Acting Police Minister about that.

    Fiona

    June 30, 2011
  2. Heidi #

    It would be a beautiful day when perpetrators of violence against women and children are truly held accountable and face real consequences for their actions! At present women and children who experience domestic and family violence are the one’s who face consquences and ‘pay the price’ if they chose to live violence free. I for one would be happy for the day when I am out of a job due to a significant decrease in the number of women and children needing to seek refuge from DV.

    July 28, 2011

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