Queensland police domestic violence inquiry extended after flood of submissions

More than 130 extra submissions received since QPS chief Katarina Carroll took stand

The commission of inquiry into Queensland police responses to domestic violence has extended the deadline of its final report after receiving a flood of new submissions following the testimony of the QPS commissioner, Katarina Carroll.

Appearing on 18 August, Carroll was grilled about police culture and comments made by senior officers.

The deputy commissioner Paul Taylor announced his immediate resignation after the inquiry heard he had referred to his friend as a “vagina whisperer” at a policing conference.

The inquiry also heard that another senior officer had been promoted despite allegedly yelling “Did she shut her legs on you?” to the master of ceremonies at a police event after he had joked about a “rough promotional process” while referring to a cut on his face.

Since Carroll’s evidence the commission has received more than 130 extra submissions – many of them from police officers. The reporting timeframe has subsequently been extended from 4 October to 14 November to deal with the influx.

The extension will allow the inquiry to “conduct a thorough review of the additional submissions and call for any additional information from the QPS”, the commission said.

Carroll and other witnesses may be required to give further evidence at additional hearings after the new closing date for submissions on 5 September.

“The Commission has requested further material from the QPS on a range of topics and that material will also inform the decision on whether further public hearings are needed,” the commission said.

The state’s attorney-general, Shannon Fentiman, said she understands the need for the extension.

“I have every confidence that Judge Richards will make some very strong recommendations about how we can ensure that women, no matter where they are in Queensland, get the support that they need,” she told reporters on Friday.

This week the Courier-Mail reported that the inquiry had requested disciplinary files of police senior executives.

The commission said it “has not, and will not, be making any comment on the specifics of what has been requested of the QPS”.

The inquiry revealed last month that Carroll had initially declined an invitation to appear, prompting the commission to ask if it needed to issue a summons.

The news sparked a backlash from campaigners who said her reluctance was “not a good look”.

Public hearings began on 11 July and were scheduled to wrap up on 9 August, before the commission called an extra session to allow Carroll to give evidence.

The independent commission of inquiry was recommended by the state’s women’s safety and justice taskforce after submissions from victims outlining alleged police failures.

The taskforce said “cultural problems within the QPS persist and appear to be widespread”, despite the “best efforts” of senior leadership and officers trained in dealing with domestic violence.

Over five weeks of public hearings, the inquiry heard from dozens of witnesses including current and former police officers, service providers and advocates.

One officer broke down in tears at the hearings as he described hearing officers referring to domestic violence as “foreplay”, describing rape as “surprise sex” and saying victims were “too ugly to be raped”.

Indigenous women are some of the most affected by police inaction, the inquiry heard, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people regularly misidentified as perpetrators of domestic violence and not considered the “ideal victim”.


Eden Gillespie

The GuardianTramp

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