Hannah Clarke inquest concludes awaiting findings

Hannah Clarke inquest concludes awaiting findings

The inquest into the death of domestic violence victim Hannah Clarke and her children ended in Queensland on 31 March.

The ABC reported that the nine day hearing ended with the “bleak assessment” that “nothing could have saved Hannah Clarke and her children from her jealous, controlling, manipulative estranged husband”.

The inquiry received recommendations from lawyers which had “a heavy focus on additional specialised training and resources for police, and improved communication and information sharing by support services, particularly about non-lethal strangulation”.

Advocates for domestic violence victims said that implementing recommendations made during the coronial inquiry was now more important than ever. 

Julie Sarkozi, a lawyer from the Queensland Women’s Legal Service said “these findings will be a powerful tool for change” and that learning programs for officers needs to be prioritised. 

She said in particular the need for police to ask the "right questions", which are more open-ended, was critical as it will help better assess whether a woman was experiencing coercive control – a form of domestic violence Ms Clarke was experiencing.

"There is ample evidence that if you ask an aggrieved 'does he hit you?' you can often get a 'no'," she said.

"Whereas if you ask: 'what things do you do to stop him from being angry?' or 'how frightened are you?', then the police and other service providers are more likely to get a more accurate picture of the dynamics of the relationship."

Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Amanda Camm said that the “government has had time to act” on the implementation of recommendations.

“Some of the recommendations that will come out of this investigation and the evidence that we have heard are the same recommendations that we have been hearing since 2015.

“We owe it to women in high-risk situations right now, to ensure we do close those gaps.”

Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley will be considering recommendations put forward by lawyers as well as evidence heard throughout the inquiry before delivering her findings by the end of June.


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