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Julie Sarkozi, Women’s Legal Service Qld, reflects on evidence from the Commission of Inquiry into QPS response to Domestic Violence

In her address to the workshop Julie Sarkozi, the Practice Director from the Women’s Legal Service Qld, reflected on the evidence of Mark Ainsworth, former QPS Detective, to Commission of Inquiry into the Qld Police Service Response to Domestic Violence. That evidence was based on interviews with 51 current and former QPS officers. She then contrasts this evidence, that police in general don’t see domestic violence as gendered, with an avalanche of evidence that it most certainly is gendered. The thrust of her address was that adequate professional and policing responses must view domestic violence from a gender perspective, otherwise they risk mis-identifying female victims as perpetrators.

A Qld death review of victims of domestic violence in 2017 found that almost half (12 out of 27) of the deaths of female victims that year had been misidentified by police as perpetrators (Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board 2017). Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety study into misidentification by police concluded that it ‘undermines confidence in the legal system, denies victims/survivors appropriate support, may inadvertently collude with perpetrators in exerting further control over their (ex)partners through systems abuse and has significant, potentially life-long, harmful impacts’ (Nancarrow et al. 2020, p. 9).

This speech was recorded at the Enhancing policing and integrated responses to domestic and sexual violence workshop, co-hosted by Kerry Carrington and the University of the Sunshine Coast 21 October 2022. You can listen to it by clicking the link below.

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