Reminder to have your say on NSW coercive control laws

NSW Government

Attorney General Mark Speakman has welcomed input from stakeholders and community members who have already contributed to the latest and fourth round of consultation on new draft laws outlawing coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships in NSW.

Mr Speakman updated the Meeting of Attorneys-General in Melbourne today that the NSW Government is well advanced to meet its commitment to introduce NSW legislation this year.

“Coercive control is complex, insidious and a significant ‘red flag’ for intimate partner homicide,” Mr Speakman said.

“Consultation is critical to ensure these landmark reforms only capture very serious incidences of abuse, avoid overreach and do not unintentionally endanger those in our community we are seeking to help.

“That’s why the NSW Government has already undertaken three rounds of consultation, including through the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control, to inform development of this exposure draft bill for public comment.”

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that involves 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.

“In acting to criminalise coercive control, NSW is building on and learning from the significant experiences, different drafting models and years of case law of jurisdictions who have legislated before us, including England and Scotland.”

Mr Speakman invited individuals, community groups and stakeholders who have not already done so to ‘have their say’ on the NSW Government’s Exposure Draft Bill on coercive control, which was released on 20 July 2022.

“The NSW Government values the sector’s insights and looks forward to receiving the contributions of its constituent members through stakeholder roundtables and any submissions they may wish to make,” Mr Speakman said.

“Careful consideration has been given to this in developing and drafting the draft bill.

“The proposed new law will create an offence to carry out repeated abusive behaviours to a current or former intimate partner, and will carry a sentence of up to seven years in jail.

“These landmark reforms are crucial to ensuring that we recognise in law a pattern of behaviour which is identified as a precursor to domestic violence deaths.

“Domestic abuse isn’t just about physical violence. It can and very often does include physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse to hurt and control someone.

“Creating a stand-alone offence will strengthen our criminal justice system’s responses to abuse providing further protections for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence.”

Mr Speakman said the release of the draft bill is the result of extensive consultation undertaken over the past three years.

“We welcome any input that community members and stakeholders may wish to provide – they can do so via the ‘Have Your Say’ website until 31 August 2022,” he said.

Have Your Say on the Exposure Draft Bill here.

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