NSW To Criminalise Coercive Control

One woman every 9 days and 1 man every 29 days is killed in Australia by a current or former
partner.

It is because of alarming statistics like this that the NSW Government has announced it will make
coercive control a criminal offence as part of the response to recommendations from the Joint Select
Committee on Coercive Control.

The committee was established in 2020 to inquire into and report on coercive control in domestic
relationships. The Government is supporting 17 of the committee’s 23 recommendations, including
the introduction of a stand-alone offence to address coercive control, as well as possible
amendments to other existing laws.

There is currently no offence of coercive control in NSW but evidence of this type of conduct is often
adduced in criminal trials to establish existing domestic violence offences.

What is coercive control?

  • withholding or controlling access to money;
  • psychological control and manipulation, such as making another person question their
    memory of events and agreements (i.e., gaslighting);
  • threatening to take children away;
  • isolating an individual from their friends and family; and
  • stalking and intimidation, including via installation of tracking software or apps.

The cumulative effect of such behaviour is to deprive victim-survivors of their autonomy and
independence but the appropriate way to respond to this behaviour remains an ongoing challenge
for law enforcement and the legal profession.
“No person deserves to live in fear, and it is part of our responsibilities in Government to uphold the
safety and human dignity of all of our citizens,” said NSW Attorney General and Minister for
Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence, Mark Speakman.

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