Labelling women as offenders has far-reaching effects, especially for First Nations women, research shows
Almost half the women murdered by an intimate partner in Queensland had previously been labelled by police as the perpetrator of domestic violence, research shows.
As the Queensland police again reckon with the brutal consequences of family violence – the deaths of Gold Coast women Doreen Langham and Kelly Wilkinson, who both repeatedly sought help – they have acknowledged and pledged to address systemic failings in their response.
But there are already concerns among experts and women’s advocates that police are resisting the need to look too deeply within, in the face of research last year into the misidentification of victims that found “racism, poor relationships with local communities, misogyny, and the patriarchal culture of the police service” were ongoing concerns.
Lynch said – and the Anrows research also found – that police often tended to look at calls or complaints about domestic violence in isolation, rather than consider the context of ongoing abuse.
“Often they’re trying to work out: is there a technical breach of an order when a woman makes a complaint, when what she’s really saying to them is ‘please make me safe’.”