Taskforce to implement state’s coercive control laws begins ahead of schedule

NSW Gov

A taskforce to oversee implementation of the state’s landmark coercive control laws has been formally established and will meet for the first time in early December, well ahead of schedule.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the speed at which the Coercive Control Implementation and Evaluation Taskforce has been operationalised reflects the taskforce’s important role in helping bring these life-saving reforms to effect.

“These nation-leading reforms are crucial to recognise in law a pattern of behaviour identified as a red flag precursor to domestic violence homicide,” Mr Speakman said.

“The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 creates a standalone offence of coercive control in current or former intimate partner relationships, with a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

“The offence cannot commence before 1 February 2024, to provide adequate time to implement these significant reforms through appropriate education, training and resourcing.

“The taskforce is a key statutory safeguard to support public awareness raising, implementation, education and training for police, judges, lawyers and frontline services.

“That’s why the NSW Government has acted immediately to set up this important group.”

Under the legislation, the Minister had until 12 December 2022 to establish the taskforce. After that, the taskforce chairperson had a further month to convene its first meeting.

“The NSW Government has wasted no time in moving on this significant initiative,” Mr Speakman said.

“I appointed the four statutory members of the taskforce on 29 November 2022, the relevant legislative provision was proclaimed on 30 November and the taskforce will meet in early December.”

“Taskforce members bring significant expertise to the table from a range of cross-disciplinary fields.

“This includes substantial experience in policing and domestic and family violence service delivery. This reinforces the strength and sincerity of the NSW Government’s commitment to ensuring an effective implementation process, overseen by a strong and capable taskforce.

“The Secretary of the Department of Communities and Justice has been appointed as the taskforce chairperson, as provided in the legislation.

“The Chair of the Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council has been appointed to serve as deputy chairperson and will play an integral role in coordinating with the work of the Council.

“Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith APM, Commander, South West Metropolitan Region, and Corporate Sponsor for Domestic and Family Violence, has been appointed to the taskforce as the statutory representative of the NSW Police Force.

“We welcome the involvement of the NSW Police Force and its commitment to supporting the successful implementation of our coercive control reforms to keep our communities safe.

“Annabelle Daniel OAM has been appointed to the taskforce as the statutory member from the domestic and family violence sector with substantial expertise and experience in domestic and family violence service delivery.

“Ms Daniel’s considerable experience, skill and knowledge – including in her current roles as CEO of the Women’s Community Shelters and Chair of Domestic Violence NSW – will be a tremendous asset,” Mr Speakman said.

The taskforce will also include senior members of key government agencies including NSW Health, Aboriginal Affairs NSW, Multicultural NSW and Legal Aid NSW.

More than 10 reference groups, chaired by taskforce members, are being set up to consider and provide advice to the taskforce on the impact of the offence provisions on specific communities and elements of the offence. These include the following:

  1. Domestic and family violence service delivery reference group
  2. Victim-survivors and persons with lived experience reference group
  3. Culturally and linguistically diverse communities reference group
  4. First Nations communities reference group
  5. People with disability reference group
  6. Legal sector reference group
  7. Older persons reference group
  8. LGBTQIA+ reference group
  9. Youth and children reference group
  10. Regional reference group
  11. Government sector reference group.

Section 54I of the Crimes Act 1900, as inserted by the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 was proclaimed on Wednesday 30 November 2022.

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