Preliminary submissions pave the way forward

Media release

Thursday, 27 February 2020

The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s latest Terms of Reference about penalties for assaults on public officers has received the highest number of preliminary submissions for any review undertaken by the Council.

Terms of Reference were issued by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Honourable Yvette D’Ath MP, in December 2019, with the Council required to report its findings by 30 June 2020.

Council member, and Project Sponsor for the Terms of Reference, Queensland Police Service Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon, said with more than 30 submissions from individuals, government organisations and other agencies it is clear Queenslanders feel strongly about the review.

“The high number of preliminary submissions is a demonstration that there is great community interest in the Terms of Reference and I want to thank everyone for taking the time to share their views on the matter,” Ms Scanlon said.

“The insights provided in the submissions into how the community, government organisations and other agencies view the topic, is vital in directing the next steps of the Council.”

Ms Scanlon said the Council has identified a number of key themes across the submissions.

“Most, if not all of the submissions, touch on the definition of ‘public officer’ and how various professionals could or should be included while performing their day-to-day duties.

“Another strong theme in the submissions is that penalties are only one aspect of reducing the risk of assaults on frontline emergency workers and other public officers.

“And a number of submissions also raised the complexity of the social and medical factors that are often associated with occupational violence.”

The Council is now working on an Issues Paper, planned for release in early April, which will explore the themes raised throughout the preliminary submissions and be supported by investigation and research

Ms Scanlon said that further opportunities for individuals, government organisations and agencies to provide feedback into assaults on public officers would be available after April.

“In the next phase of the review we will be seeking more targeted feedback from stakeholders about the penalties for assaults on public officers,” Ms Scanlon said.

The preliminary submissions are now available.*

Keep up to date with the Council’s work on the Terms of Reference, as well as other news, by subscribing to the Council’s news service.

*Submissions marked as ‘confidential’ by contributors have not been published to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s website and identifying features within public submissions have been redacted to protect the personal information of the contributor.

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