Qld govt under fire over domestic violence

·3-min read

The Queensland government has blamed the death of a woman set alight on "evil" rather than policing or the criminal justice system amid skyrocketing rates of domestic violence in the state.

Domestic violence order breaches surged by almost 20 per cent to 33,811 in 2019/20, according to statistics released on Friday.

Breaches have rocketed 188 per cent since 2010/11, and there have already been more than 6000 breaches in the first two months of 2021.

Those figures come three days after the third woman died in a just over a year after being set alight in a domestic violence-related attack.

Mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson died on Tuesday after she was allegedly attacked by her estranged husband Brian Earl Johnston in her Gold Coast backyard.

State Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has already asked a special task force for recommendations on criminalising coercive control, due in October, and on reforming the justice system for women, due in March.

There are concerns more women will be killed in the meantime and growing calls for immediate action to protect victims.

Police Minister Mark Ryan says "evil" is responsible for Ms Wilkinson's death, rather than the police or the criminal justice system.

"There's someone evil in this case, and there's obviously criminal proceedings that will follow, and I wouldn't want to say anything which obviously undermines justice in this case," he said.

Mr Ryan said suggestions police weren't working to keep the community safe were misplaced.

He also took umbrage at claims police were not locking up enough alleged domestic offenders.

"It is incorrect to say that people aren't in custody because they are, and many of them are in custody for a long period of time, rightly so, for the crime that they've committed," Mr Ryan said.

Opposition domestic violence spokeswoman Amanda Camm said the government can't afford to wait for reviews while women's lives are at risk.

She said police needed to be better resourced, and support services needed a big boost in base funding on top of existing COVID-19 support.

"We continue to say enough is enough - I'm sick of saying enough is enough," Ms Camm told reporters.

"When is enough enough? A young mother has lost her life and we need to ensure that that is not vain."

Federal Assistant Minister for Women Amanda Stoker said the state's criminal justice system is not delivering for victims.

"These are not mere family concerns, these are cases of murder and we need more from our criminal justice system to make sure that people ... don't continue to end this way," she told Nine Network on Friday.

Mr Ryan said cabinet was discussing what other action could be taken, if any.

He also said if the government task force led by former Court of Appeal chief justice Margaret McMurdo makes any early recommendations, they can be acted upon.

"One of the things she's looking at is bail, and this particular case needs to be looked at closely," Mr Ryan said.

"That work needs to be done... I know people want answers now but that work needs to be done. And I need to let that work be done."