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‘Coercive control’ is a form of domestic abuse that involve patterns of behaviour which have the cumulative effect of denying victim-survivors their autonomy and independence. This abuse can include physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse.
The NSW Government has drafted a bill to criminalise coercive control in intimate partner relationships and further strengthen criminal justice system responses to abuse.
This follows the NSW Government’s commitments in December 2021 to criminalise coercive control in intimate partner relationships and release a public exposure draft bill for consultation on these amendments.
These commitments were part of the NSW Government’s response to the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control.
The NSW Government has consistently said that any legislative reform must be approached with great care and caution to ensure it does not unintentionally put in further danger those in our community we are seeking to help. Great care and caution must also be taken to ensure the offence is calibrated appropriately to capture only conduct of the very serious standard deserving of criminal sanction, avoiding over-reach.
Beyond legislation, the NSW Government’s response to domestic and family violence already includes significant investments across housing, crisis accommodation, counselling, case management, court advocacy, policing, education and health.
As part of the 2022-23 Budget, the NSW Government announced in June 2022 that more women and children experiencing domestic and family violence will be supported by $69.6 million in new funding, building on the NSW Government’s landmark $484.3 million investment in housing and related support services as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Strategy.
The 2022-23 Budget also included an initial down-payment of $0.7 million over two years to support the Government’s legislative commitment to outlaw coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships.
The Department of Communities and Justice released a discussion paper in October 2020 on coercive and controlling behaviour in the context of domestic and family violence in NSW. The discussion paper highlights key questions for any potential reform.
This paper can be used as a guide to help inform further consideration of this complex topic.
View or download a copy of the coercive control discussion paper. (PDF, 729.9 KB)
In December 2021, the NSW Government committed to supporting, in full, in part or in principle, 17 of the 23 unanimous recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control.
This included consulting on and introducing a stand-alone offence to address coercive control in intimate partner relationships as well as possible amendments to other existing laws.
Read the NSW Government's response to the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee.
20 Sep 2022
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Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
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