What’s this about?
If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call the Police on Triple 000.
‘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 December 2021, the NSW Government committed to criminalise coercive control in intimate partner relationships and further strengthen criminal justice system responses to abuse. The NSW Government also committed to release a public exposure draft for consultation on creating a stand-alone offence of coercive control and other possible amendments.
These commitments were part of the NSW Government’s response to the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on coercive control. This draft exposure Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Bill 2022 gives effect to those commitments. This draft exposure bill shows what the offence might look like in legislation.
The NSW Government welcomes feedback from the community and sectors on whether this draft bill will meet its purpose to criminalise coercive control in intimate partner settings, and how it might be improved.
The NSW Government has consistently said that any legislative reform must be approached with great care and caution to ensure it does not unintentionally put in further danger those in our community we are seeking to help. Great care and caution must also be taken to ensure the offence is calibrated appropriately to capture only conduct of the very serious standard deserving of criminal sanction, avoiding over-reach.
What would the new offence look like?
The Exposure Draft Bill outlines a stand-alone offence for coercive control. The offence can only be charged if five elements are met:
- An adult (18 years or older) must engage in a ‘course of conduct’. This means engaging in behaviour repeatedly or continuously.
- That course of conduct must be ‘abusive behaviour’. This means behaviour that involves violence, threats or intimidation and/or coercion or control of the person against who the behaviour is directed.
- A reasonable person must consider that the ‘abusive behaviour’ would, in all circumstances, be likely to cause the other person to fear that violence will be used against them, or have a serious impact on their day-to-day activities.
- The ‘abusive behaviour’ must be directed against a current or former intimate partner.
- The offender must intend their course of conduct to cause physical or mental harm, or the offender must have been reckless about whether this could happen.
Have your say
Have your say by 31 August 2022.
You can submit your feedback using the consultation method listed below.