Police didn’t disappoint Hannah Clarke, but training review needed: coroner


“He had no desire to get advice or solve his problems; he manipulated doctors and psychologists.

“When Baxter concluded he had totally lost control of Hannah, he killed her and her three children. Baxter understood the extent of the atrocities he had committed, he did not want to live with public exposure. and the punishment he would receive.

Rowan Baxter.Credit:Facebook – Integr8 & CrossFit SMC

Bentley said police missed opportunities to hold Baxter accountable for their actions.

“For example, he was not charged and released on bail for breach of the Domestic Violence Ordinance and Assault Causing Bodily Harm [10 days before the fatal fire]. Instead, he received a summons [in court],” she says.

Bentley painted a grim picture of police training on domestic violence, but she acknowledged it was a police department priority and was improving.

“Since 2017, the training provided to police officers has been inadequate, given that domestic violence accounts for up to half of all their work,” she said.

“The majority of frontline police officers who constantly deal with domestic violence… had received an online refresher training program within the past five years.”

Bentley made three key recommendations.

The state government should urgently fund a five-day domestic violence training program for all police officers who specialize in domestic violence support.

The Queensland Police Service includes a compulsory module in its annual training for all officers dealing with domestic violence face to face.

The state government is expected to fund a year-long trial for a domestic violence police station in the Logan or Kirwan districts, which have the most domestic violence incidents in the state. This must include domestic violence police officers, a domestic violence support worker, a child safety officer, a representative from the Department of Housing, a Queensland health officer and a solicitor.

The scene on Raven Street in Camp Hill on February 19, 2020.

The scene on Raven Street in Camp Hill on February 19, 2020.Credit:Toby Crockford

As Bentley once again expressed her condolences to the Clarke family, who were in court, and closed the inquest, her voice wavered and she was visibly upset as she left the courtroom.

Hannah’s parents, Sue and Lloyd Clarke, said they were happy with the coroner’s findings, but changes were needed in every state.

“The five-day face-to-face training for domestic violence officers – it’s what we’ve been waiting for and what we need,” Lloyd said.

“And with information sharing, that’s one of the things that happened in Hannah’s case – there wasn’t enough information sharing, or not enough easy access.”

Sue and Lloyd Clarke were named Queensland Australians of the Year in January 2022 as they fight for greater awareness of domestic abuse through the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation.

Sue and Lloyd Clarke were named Queensland Australians of the Year in January 2022 as they fight for greater awareness of domestic abuse through the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Sue Clarke hoped Hannah would be proud of them and their work through their foundation, Small Steps 4 Hannah. She vowed to continue the “uncomfortable conversation” they had started.

“[The recommended specialist domestic violence police station is an] amazing game changer. If women can understand what they can blame people for and what risk they are putting themselves at, with all the different services working together, I think that’s just a dream,” he said. she declared.

The $3.4million Independent Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police Service responses to domestic and family violence, initiated by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, is also underway.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, contact DV Connect on 1800 811 811 or 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service on 07 3217 2544.

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