Councillor Rebekah Brand comforting woman client at Western Domestic Violence Service. abuse victim profile scared upset generic
Councillor Rebekah Brand comforting woman client at Western Domestic Violence Service. abuse victim profile scared upset generic

Why domestic abusers are not getting help

CONVICTED domestic violence criminals are not being placed in vital prevention courses for at least six months while on parole because demand for the training is too high.

A Southport court was also told prisoners are not able to receiving any domestic violence prevention training while in custody.

But the state government said they are "working" to reduce the waiting list for the domestic violence prevention program and a course is also being trialled in prison.

 

Convicted domestic violence perpetrators are waiting at least six months to start domestic violence prevention courses while on parole.
Convicted domestic violence perpetrators are waiting at least six months to start domestic violence prevention courses while on parole.

In two separate sentencing hearings for domestic violence perpetrators in the Southport District Court last week Judge David Kent questioned prosecutors and the Queensland Corrective Services court liaison officer about what prevent courses were available.

"I presume there are no programs available in custody," Judge Kent asked.

The QCS liaison replied: "That's correct. Not that I am aware of, but they may be some supplementary counselling."

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Defence barristers and prosecutors both also told the court they were unaware of domestic violence prevention programs in prison.

The courses aim to get perpetrators show how damaging their behaviour is and provide coping mechanisms to prevent reoffending.

The courses aim to show perpetrators about how damaging their behaviour is. Source: iStock
The courses aim to show perpetrators about how damaging their behaviour is. Source: iStock

Prosecutor Kathleen Christopherson said there was a six to 12 month waiting list for the 27-week domestic violence prevention course offer by corrective services once a perpetrator was on parole.

The QCS court liaison officer confirmed this and said in the interim parolees were offered "psychological counselling" in an effort to discourage repeat offending.

Due to a legislative requirements a judge or magistrate cannot order a domestic violence prevention program as a part of parole requirements. The order has to come from the QCS chief executive once the person is on parole.

"So there is not all that much I can do to make any of this happen," Judge Kent said.

"I am sure there is a big queue."

Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said due to the large number of domestic violence perpetrators the state government was "prioritising" the issue.

"We're trialling the Disrupting Family Violence Program (DFVP) - created by an international domestic violence expert - in Woodford, Wolston and Maryborough Correctional Centres," he said.

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"This program is having immediate success in curbing the abhorrent behaviours that lead perpetrators offend."

But, he had few details on the plans to curb the waiting list of the prevention program while on parole.
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"South Coast Community Corrections are working with the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre to increase the number of placements in perpetrator programs in coming months," Mr Ryan said.

He said the state government took domestic violence "very seriously" and would "continue to fund programs that end the cycle of abuse".