Group calls for changes to laws

A NEWLY formed Fraser Coast domestic violence advocacy group is calling for changes to domestic violence laws.

The group is petitioning for changes to be made to laws which can see victims charged with aiding and abetting and laws which can see children removed from their mothers is domestic violence charges are filed against an abusive spouse.

Hervey Bay’s Suzanne Quacinella is heading up the group.

“Women need safety,” she said.

Ms Quacinella also called for tougher penalties for those who inflicted violence on their partners.

She said domestic violence should be treated like any other assault case - and the potential jail sentences for an assault on one’s partner should be the same as an attack inflicted on a stranger.

“It is assault, whether or not there is a relationship,” she said.

Ms Quacinella is also hoping the group will bring the issue out from behind closed doors and educate people on the issue of domestic violence.

“Recent statistics demonstrate that domestic violence is a huge problem in Australian society.

“Up to 33 per cent of all women have experience physical violence and 49 per cent of female homicide victims were killed as a result of a domestic altercation.”

Ms Quacinella said the crime was also under-reported, which meant that although the number of reported domestic violence incidents doubled from 1996 to 2005, many more cases do not get reported to police.

She is also pushing for more funding for those who wish to pursue legal action against their abusive partners. Copies of the petition will be available at shopping centres around the Fraser Coast and the Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen’s office.

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