Judge supports domestic violence court proposal
A QUEENSLAND judge believes funding is needed for specialised domestic violence courts.
District and children's court Judge Fleur Kingham's comments came on the back of a special report recommending specialised courts and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's push to address domestic violence at the Council of Australian Governments last week.
But Ms Kingham warned 100 people gathered for a QUT-organised discussion about domestic violence that the justice system is only part of the solution.
"It's an issue of culture, it's an issue of society, it springs from attitudes about and towards women and children and love and relationships and responsibilities and rights," Ms Kingham said.
"That is not to say criminal justice does not play a role, but if our focus is on using criminal sanctions as a way of solving domestic violence then we are seriously missing the point.
"I feel I'm representing a system we acknowledge is not working well in this area, but I'm speaking as an individual."
She said pressuring judges to enforce longer sentences was not the answer, pointing to the lack of evidence that more jail time was a long-term strategy to reduce crime.
Ms Kingham is pushing for flexibility and creativity when responding to the complexity of domestic violence cases.
QUT Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz said Australia had seen a record high in domestic homicides this year.
"Something has to change to prevent these preventable murders of women and children," she said.
"This symposium is a step toward fixing the systemic problems that allow such killings to continue."
The symposium also focused on the impact of indigenous children's exposure to family violence and Muslim women's experiences in reporting partner violence.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, phone 1800 737 732.