New laws that focus on patterns of behaviour are the first step to coercive control becoming a specific offence as part of Queensland's domestic violence reforms.
The legislation is the first resulting from recommendations in the Women's Safety and Justice task force report Hear Her Voice, and was introduced to state parliament on Friday.
It will strengthen Queensland's response to coercive control before the introduction of a stand-alone offence next year, Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said.
"The task force made it very clear that system-wide reform was needed before any new coercive control offence came into effect," she told parliament.
The legislation will broaden the definition of domestic violence to include patterns of behaviour, not just single incidents.
"Our system right now is really set up to respond to individual instances of physical violence, but we know that for so many victims of domestic and family violence, it's a pattern of controlling behaviour that happens over time," Ms Fentiman said.
The definition of unlawful stalking will also be updated to include intimidation, harassment and abuse.
"This is aimed at better capturing the way that modern technology is being used to control and harass victims," Ms Fentiman said.
There will also be provisions for courts to give greater consideration to domestic violence history and address the use of tactical cross-applications.
A respondent's criminal and domestic violence history will have to be provided for all private and police-initiated domestic violence applications.
Applications and cross-applications will be heard together, requiring the court to identify the person most in need of protection and only make one order in most circumstances.
"We have to make sure that it is the person most in need of protection," Ms Fentiman said.
Outdated terms such as carnal knowledge and maintaining a sexual relationship with a child will be updated to ensure language does not "trivialise or soften what are reprehensible actions", Ms Fentiman said.
Carnal knowledge will be updated to penile intercourse, while maintaining a sexual relationship with a child will become repeated sexual conduct with a child.
Sue and Lloyd Clarke, whose daughter Hannah and her three children were murdered by her estranged husband in 2020, welcomed the new laws.
"Hannah didn't know she was in an abusive relationship because she wasn't being physically harmed, but now the law is closer to recognising the very real danger of coercive control and we are getting closer to outlawing it completely," Sue Clarke said on Friday.
"I think there was about six or eight iPhones hidden around the house where he would listen to everything she did. He had one in the car watching where she went, so just that alone would have given her a bit of ammunition to having a stalking criminal offence put at him."
The bill will now be examined by a parliamentary committee before it's debated in coming months.
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Australian Associated Press