Coercive control and the law

From July 2024, coercive control will be a criminal offence in NSW when a person uses abusive behaviours towards a current or former intimate partner with the intention to coerce or control them.

The criminal offence will capture repeated patterns of physical or non-physical abuse used to hurt, scare, intimidate, threaten or control someone. The law will only apply to abusive behaviour that happens after the law starts.

Find out more about the NSW Government actions on criminalising coercive control.

Read the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022.

A woman experiencing coercive control

Why will it only be a criminal offence in intimate partner relationships?

Coercive control can happen in other types of relationships. However, the legislation will be tested in current and former intimate partner relationships first.

This is because coercive control has been strongly linked to intimate partner homicide. The NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team found that in 97% of intimate partner domestic violence homicides cases, the victim had experienced coercive and controlling behaviours before being killed.1

The NSW Government will review the legislation from 2026 including to consider whether it should be expanded to criminalise coercive control in other types of relationships.

Whether you’re experiencing coercive control from an intimate partner, a family member, a caregiver, or any other person, it’s always wrong and there’s support available.

Quick exit

Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for 24/7 support

Top of page