Take action on bikie crime & domestic violence but keep penalties fair – Qld voters

Bikie laws and penalties for domestic violence were key questions in the Vote Compass survey of almost 42,000 Queenslanders covered by ABC News.

QUT’s Associate Professor Mark Lauchs from QUT’s School of Justice said the findings showed people did want action taken on bikie crime.

“But they have a sense of fair play. They don’t want extra legislation to have them punished with greater penalties than any other person,” Professor Lauchs said.

“There is general support for tough action to reduce crime by motorcycle gangs.”

He said the breakdown of the figures along political party lines was “predictable” with twice as many Liberal voters as any other party voter saying they “somewhat agree” or “strongly agree” to the statement: “A member of a bikie gang should receive a tougher sentence than someone else convicted of the same crime”.

Professor Kerry Carrington said that unsurprisingly more women than men had chosen “much more tough” as a response to the question: “How tough should penalties be for domestic violence in Queensland?”

“Women are primarily victims of domestic violence and we have a big problem of under-reporting,” she said.

“It’s a cry for help as it’s an invisible problem. We don’t have a holistic approach to combatting domestic violence. Our responses are compartmentalised, patchy and not supported because a lot of the services which used to assist women have had their funding cut.”

Professor Carrington said it was no surprise that there was no discrepancy between responses from women in the city and in the bush who were in equal agreement on much tougher penalties.

“The message has got out to women that domestic violence is a crime and should not be tolerated.”

Professor Carrington said rates of reported crime had dropped by around 2 per cent from 2013 to 2014.

“This is consistent with the long-term steady decline in crime across the State over the past 12 years – a 22 per cent drop between 2002 to 2014.

“Crime rates are declining in many parts of the western world. We don’t know exactly why.

“From 2013 to 2014 there was a 4.5 per cent drop in offences against the person, a 9.5 per cent decline in property offences and a 12.5 per cent increase in ‘other offences’.

“Offences that went up in the ‘other’ category include drug, weapons, good order, public nuisance and liquor offences, and breach of domestic violence orders offences.”

The findings are based on 41,458 respondents to Vote Compass from January 13 to January 19, 2015. Though not a poll, respondent data are weighted using the latest census date to approximate a representative sample of the Victoria population.
Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a democratic engagement tool offered in Australia exclusively by the ABC.

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media, 07 3138 2999 or [email protected]

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