Family violence inquiry to examine coercive control

The parliamentary inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence will conclude its program of public hearings this week, hearing evidence about the criminalisation of coercive control in England and Scotland. The Committee will also hear from others including Commonwealth departments and the business community.

On Thursday evening, the House Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee will hear from representatives of Scottish Women’s Aid and the Women’s Aid Federation England about the operation of coercive control legislation in those jurisdictions.

On Friday, the Committee will hear further evidence from federal government agencies involved in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, as well as the National Mental Health Commission, the New South Wales government, and business groups.

In addition to the public hearings, the Committee will this week continue hearing from individuals in closed session about their experiences and their suggestions for better preventing and responding to family, domestic, and sexual violence.

Chair of the Committee, Mr Andrew Wallace MP, said the Committee was keen to hear about the experience in England and Scotland following the introduction of laws to make coercive control a criminal offence.

‘Throughout the inquiry, the Committee has heard a range of views about how best to respond to coercive and controlling behaviour, which can be a precursor to intimate partner violence including murder. The Committee is hoping to learn from the experience in Scotland and England about whether the criminalisation of coercive control has improved women’s safety, and whether there are lessons for Australia about how we tackle this insidious form of violence.’

In order to ensure public safety during the COVID-19 situation, witnesses will participate in the hearings remotely, via videoconference and teleconference. Interested members of the public are invited to watch or listen to the live broadcast, available at aph.gov.au/live.

Public hearing details

Date: Thursday, 3 December 2020

Time: 7.30pm to 9.00pm (AEDT)

Location: Via videoconference

Date: Friday, 4 December 2020

Time: 8.30am to 1.45pm (AEDT)

Location: Via videoconference

Public hearing programs are available on the inquiry website.

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