‘Nobody knows about it’: Queensland police inquiry criticised for tight submission deadline | Queensland

Queensland’s royal commission into police handling domestic violence allegations has extended its submission deadline after fears were raised that victims’ voices would go unheard. However, campaigners say the new three-week timeline is still “not good enough”.

The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, announced the independent commission of inquiry into Queensland police service (QPS) responses to domestic and family violence in May, following recommendations by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report Hear her voice.

On 3 June, the inquiry’s commissioner, Deborah Richards, invited people to provide written submissions by 17 June.

“We encourage those providing a submission to visit the commission’s website for further information about the process,” Richards, the Queensland children’s court president, said in a statement on the website.

When questioned by Guardian Australia over concerns the deadline was too soon, an inquiry spokesperson said submissions would now be accepted until 24 June.

The commission will hold its first sitting on Friday and is due to hand the final inquiry report to the government by 4 October.

“The commission is working within strict timeframes to meet this milestone; however, as the commission has been advised that some community members have experienced difficulties accessing the website, the deadline for submissions has been extended,” the spokesperson said.

Guardian Australia understands a group of current and former female police officers is considering making an anonymous joint submission to the inquiry.

A female police officer said she was concerned that the call for submissions appeared to have been made quietly and that the deadline was so soon.

“We see this as an opportunity to address longstanding problems, to be constructive about what needs to change, and that our experiences in the QPS would be invaluable to the inquiry,” the officer said.


“One of the reasons this inquiry is needed is because we work in an environment where speaking up is, to put it mildly, frowned upon.

“I’ve already been told to my face that I was only promoted because of gender quotas.

“At this stage, I’m unsure if I can contribute.”

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Angela Lynch, who heads the Queensland Sexual Assault Network, said the new three-week deadline for submissions was “better” but “still not good enough” – especially given the call for proposals had not been “publicized very well”.

“We stumbled across this, that there was a call for submissions, and so, quite frankly, that’s not good enough,” she said.

She said a six-week timeframe would be ideal for overstretched agencies to take staff off the frontline to draft submissions and run them past management committees. Four weeks, she said, would be a bare minimum.

“Four weeks from now because nobody knows about it,” Lynch said.

The inquiry spokesperson said the commission “acknowledges the emotional and mental impacts of retelling traumatic incidents upon victim survivors”.

“To alleviate the need for community members to resubmit their experiences to the commission, the commission will have access to and will take into account the submissions received by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.”

While there is an option for submissions to be anonymous through email or post, Lynch said there needed to be greater recognition of the risks for survivors who are the partners of serving police officers.

“You still have to put in an email address, and people may be concerned that their partners might have access to their emails if they’re subject to tech abuse … this is the reality of how some people in a highly dangerous situation live,” Lynch said.

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Betty Taylor, the chief executive of the Red Rose Foundation, said her organization had been racing against the clock to file a submission after finding out on Monday that they had opened.

“It’s too brief for service providers and way too brief for victims and survivors of sexual assault to get the information they need to provide a comprehensive response to this,” Taylor said.

“They are in the middle of this and deserve to be heard.”

Previous reports and inquests in the state have zeroed in on police practices such as training and procedures.

With Queensland on the path toward criminalizing coercive control, this inquiry is significant as it will review how officer attitudes and police culture may contribute to poor responses.

Taylor said she hoped the review would bring about “meaningful change”.

“There would be a lot of victims out there and families who have lost loved ones,” Taylor said.

“I think we also owe it to the hardworking members of QPS that are providing good responses to know their work is going to be supported by some systems reform [rather than] detract from what they’re doing.”

The opposition’s spokesperson for preventing domestic violence, Amanda Camm, said it was “not good enough” to provide a two-week deadline and that the inquiry “will only be effective if we get genuine submissions”.

The national family violence counseling service in Australia is on 1800 737 732. Call the national domestic abuse helpline in the UK on 0808 2000 247 or visit Women’s Aid. In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines may be found at www.befrienders.org.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.