Friday, June 21, 2024

NSW to introduce coercive control Bill

A Bill to outlaw coercive control will be introduced to the NSW Parliament this week after Attorney General Mark Speakman gave formal notice in Parliament today.

If passed, NSW will become the first Australian state or territory to have a dedicated stand-alone offence of coercive control, carrying a maximum sentence of seven years in jail. 

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse involving a pattern of behavior that enables someone to exert power over another person through fear and control, denying a victim-survivor their autonomy and independence.  

“Coercive control is a proven red flag for domestic violence homicide – it is no exaggeration to say this bill could literally mean the difference between life and death,” Mr Speakman said. 

“This Bill is the product of extensive consideration and unprecedented consultation. The NSW Government has undertaken at least seven rounds of consultation in the last two and a half years alone, including a discussion paper, parliamentary inquiry and public exposure draft bill.  

“We have learnt from overseas jurisdictions’ experiences and built a bespoke offence that best reflects the diverse nature of our society in NSW, in terms of Aboriginal communities and CALD communities.” 

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence, Natalie Ward, who chaired the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control, said the Bill delivers on the NSW Government’s commitment to introduce a standalone offence of coercive control in the 2022 spring session of Parliament. 

“We made a clear commitment to develop, publicly consult on and deliver this piece of legislation to make NSW a safer state for women and deter domestic and sexual violence,” Mrs Ward said 

“I would like to thank the many individuals, community members and stakeholders who shared their stories to help shape this important legislation.” 

The NSW Government’s Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Bill 2022 will create an offence of coercive control with appropriate safeguards in the Crimes Act 1900.   

The Bill will be read in the Legislative Assembly on 12 October. 

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