Gender violence expert appointed to government taskforce

Professor Patrick O'Leary has been appointed to the Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce.

Griffith University gender violence expert Professor Patrick O’Leary will join a new taskforce to help tackle domestic and family violence in Queensland.

The Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce will examine issues faced by women accessing the criminal justice system.

It will look at legislation against coercive control, introduce a new offence ‘commit domestic violence’ and examine future areas of reform, including attitudinal change, prevention, training for first responders and legislative amendments.

Professor Patrick O’Leary

Professor O’Leary is an internationally recognised researcher on domestic violence, gender-based violence and child protection.

He has worked with UNICEF, Terre des hommes and Islamic Relief Worldwide, and was recently commissioned as an Expert Academic Advisor to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Professor O’Leary said he was honoured to be selected for the taskforce.

“It is a humbling experience and a big responsibility, but I welcome the opportunity to make real change,” he said.

“Every time a woman or child is killed or seriously injured, it’s clear the system isn’t working.”

“We have made some big improvements, but we still have a long way to go.”

Professor O’Leary said that Griffith University led the way in research into domestic and family violence.

“We have done extensive research in this area, and are leading the way with programs like the MATE Bystander Program and Violence Research and Prevention Program,” he said.

“A focus on social justice and gender equality is part of our DNA at Griffith University.”

The Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce will provide recommendations on coercive control legislation by October and deliver its final recommendations to Government by March 2022.

Professor O’Leary will be joined on the taskforce by leading experts, including:

  • Tracy Linford APM, Deputy Commissioner, Queensland Police Service
  • Laura Reece, Barrister-at-Law
  • Di MacLeod, Deputy Director, Queensland Sexual Assault Network
  • Gillian O’Brien, Manager, WWILD
  • Thelma Schwartz, Principal Legal Officer, Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service
  • Kelly-Ann Tansley, Manager, Brisbane Domestic Violence Service — Micah Projects
  • Dr Nora Amath, Islamic Women’s Association of Australia
  • Philip McCarthy, QC, Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Alexis Oxley, Solicitor.

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