Queensland domestic violence offences increased 17% during pandemic, data shows

Queensland has experienced a 17% increase in domestic violence offences and soaring rates of other violent crime during the Covid-19 pandemic.

While there was some correlation between Covid restrictions and a fall in the incidence of other offences, data from the 2020-21 financial year show a significant increase in violent crime.

The data was contained in report from the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office released Thursday that showed a 17.1% increase in the number of domestic violence offences reported to police, to 39,871.

Over the past decade, the number of domestic violence order breaches has more than doubled, with an increase of 213.6%.

The number of offences against the person increased 20.4%, from 37,960 in the previous year to 45,687 in 2020/21.

Across the state, assaults increased by more than 24%, while sexual offences spiked by more than 20%.

However, the overall crime rate in 2020-21 dropped by more than 12% on the previous year.

The state’s police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, said the statistics reinforced the work carried out by officers across the state.

“In the past two years, an extraordinary amount of work has been targeted towards youth crime, and we can see that reflected in the decrease in unique offenders,” Carroll said.

“However, we know there is more work to be done, and the [Queensland Police Service] remains committed to keeping communities safe.”

The data revealed an almost 25% decrease in homicides, while robbery offences were down 11.6%.

The spread of Covid-19 played a significant role in those reductions, with restrictions including border lockdowns, quarantine and business closures helping lower the rate of some offending from March 2020 when the pandemic was declared.

The police minister, Mark Ryan, said that while any criminal offence was unacceptable, police remained dedicated to preventing and disrupting crime.

“For every crime there is a victim and even one instance of crime is one too many,” Ryan said.

Outback Queensland recorded the highest rate of crime across the state, with about 22,500 reported offences per 100,000 people.

Townsville topped the crime table for coastal, city and regional centres.

On Thursday the opposition leader, David Crisafulli, released figures that suggested an average of 10 homes and businesses were broken into – and two cars stolen – every day in Townsville over the last month.

Burdekin MP Dale Last said the figures made for horrifying reading.

“Behind every single one of those stolen cars, or break-ins, is a victim,” he said.

“I’m continually receiving calls from these victims, their families, terrified kids can’t sleep at night … they’re at their wits’ end.”

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