New team to tackle domestic violence in Townsville and North Queensland

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Townsville is set to be home to a new Domestic Violence High Risk Team which will enhance responses to domestic and family violence (DFV) in the North Queensland community through time critical information sharing and safety management for victims and increased line of sight of high-risk perpetrators.

Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said High Risk Teams were a key element of Queensland’s integrated service response to tackle DFV.

“The Queensland Government has been focused on integrated service responses which are delivering better outcomes for victim-survivors and their children through an increased focus on victim-survivor safety, increased perpetrator accountability, and formalised information sharing,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Key to the success of this strategy has been our High Risk Teams, which are saving lives.

“High Risk Teams are coordinated, multi-agency teams that collaborate to provide integrated, holistic and culturally appropriate safety responses for victims who are at high risk of serious harm or lethality.

“We know these teams are achieving results, which is why in response to recommendations made by to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report Hear Her Voice, I am pleased to announce High Risk Teams will be expanded and rolled out to new locations in Queensland.

“Three new High-Risk Teams will be rolled out over the next four years, with the first new location being Townsville.”

Minister Fentiman said Townsville’s strong track record in delivering a sophisticated and high functioning integrated service response means it is well placed to be the first location for a new High Risk Team

“Townsville will now be in an even better position to support women and children at high risk and continue to support the many hundreds of women in the broader integrated service response,” she said.

“Townsville will add to the eight existing High Risk Teams currently operating in Mount Isa, Cairns, Mackay, Caboolture, Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan Beenleigh, and Cherbourg.

Minister Fentiman said an independent evaluation of the High Risk Team model completed by Griffith University in 2019 found that High Risk Teams are improving victim safety.

“The evidence shows these teams are enabling faster and more targeted responses for victim-survivors and perpetrators.

“Through these teams we are able to better support place-based approaches to identify and respond to domestic and family violence in these local communities,” she said.

High Risk Teams, domestic and family violence service providers, agencies and individuals, will be supported to identify and assess domestic violence risks and take action to prevent harm using updated tools and best practice approaches.

The announcement has been welcomed by Townsville’s members of parliament.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said “While our local services and government agencies already collaborate to keep women and children safe, this investment in a team to lead this work will be a game changer”.

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper added “Our community stands strong against sexual, domestic and family violence and this High Risk team will help facilitate information sharing and keep eyes on our most vulnerable community members and hold perpetrators to account”.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s response to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce will fundamentally reform our system and I’m pleased that Townsville will be part of this expanded network of High Risk teams as recommended by the taskforce.” Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said.

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