There are growing calls for a Queensland police officer who leaked a domestic violence victim’s address to her ex-partner to be sacked, after a judge downgraded his sentence.
On Saturday, the group Doctors Against Violence Towards Women launched a petition calling on Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carrol to fire Punchard.
In 2014, Punchard accessed two separate police computer systems to find the address of the Gold Coast woman and then gave it to his friend, her ex-partner – who was later convicted of domestic violence offences.
The ex-partner, who later fled to Greece, threatened to kill his former wife and strap bombs to their children.
Queensland University of Technology professor and domestic violence expert Kerry Carrington said Punchard’s case was “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of issues with how police treat domestic violence victims.
Defunding the domestic violence part of the police force and creating a specialised structure would be the best way to achieve necessary change, she said.
“Everything we’re doing is not working. The main problem, primarily, is the police. They’ve become the gatekeepers,” Professor Carrington said.
“We need to create a completely new police force that deals with domestic gender violence, exactly like what Argentina did.”
Having specialised police stations staffed by women who are trained in responding to the complex issue of family violence in a holistic way that involves social workers, child care and psychologists, would help to solve Australia’s family violence problem, Professor Carrington said.