NSW Government criminalises coercive control


THE NSW Government has committed to outlawing coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships as part of the response to recommendations from the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control.

Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman said NSW Parliament moved to establish the Committee just over a year ago to explore whether to criminalise this conduct in NSW.

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At the same time, the NSW Government published a discussion paper to help guide the work of the Committee and inform submissions to the Inquiry.

The Government is now taking the next step building on the Inquiry’s work by developing and consulting extensively on the drafting of this new law.

“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.

“That’s why we’re supporting, or supporting in principle, 17 of the Committee’s 23 unanimous recommendations.

“This includes consulting on and introducing a stand-alone offence to address coercive control, as well as possible amendments to other existing laws,” Mr Speakman said.

Six recommendations have been noted as further consideration continues.

“Coercive control is also a red flag for intimate partner homicide.

“The Domestic Violence Death Review Team led by the Coroner found that intimate partner homicide in NSW is typically preceded by coercive control often without any recorded physical violence.

“I commend especially the extraordinary bravery of the victim-survivors who contributed to the Inquiry,” Mr Speakman said.

Minister for Mental Health and Women Bronnie Taylor said domestic abuse can take many forms other than physical violence, which together can comprise coercive control.

“Coercive control is simply unacceptable.

“It involves patterns of abuse that have the cumulative effect of denying victim-survivors their autonomy and independence, including physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse,” Mrs Taylor said.

In addition, the Department of Education will review school programs about respectful relationships to ensure these include content about coercive and controlling behaviour.

Comprehensive training on coercive control will also be introduced across Government systems and communities.

A public awareness campaign about coercive control will be developed and delivered in consultation with stakeholders, including with culturally and linguistically diverse and First Nations communities and organisations.

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