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Domestic Violence Governance News

Org welcomes committee report in favour of criminalising coercive control

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criminalising coercive control

Domestic Violence NSW has expressed support for a newly released report by the Joint Select Committee on Coercive control, which provided 23 recommendations on the process of criminalising coercive control.

“Coercive control is one of the most insidious forms of domestic and family violence,” says CEO of Domestic Violence NSW Delia Donovan.

“For DVNSW, the issue was never whether to criminalise coercive control, but how and where to criminalise it in the eyes of the law. We are supportive of the considered approach the committee have taken, recommending some priority reforms, and a taskforce set up to oversee longer term reform.

”The report included DVNSW’s key recommendations of increased funding to the DV sector to provide crucial supports on the ground,” said Donovan. “We were also pleased to see a focus on primary prevention, ongoing consultation and the increased investment in the ongoing education and training of police and the judiciary.”

“DVNSW wholeheartedly supports this approach to criminalising coercive control, and is especially pleased to see the report prioritising changes to the civil law which will offer improved protection to victim-survivors,” says DVNSW’s Policy and Research Manager Renata Field.

“As our colleagues in Scotland and England have demonstrated, some of the most powerful changes are those to community attitudes and the attitudes and supports provided by police and other first responders.

“It is essential that we support these and future changes with thorough funding for implementation and training,” Field said.

The main recommendation (recommendation 1) is that the NSW Government criminalise coercive control in a considered manner, with thorough consultation and training which is assisted through a multiagency taskforce. The committee further recommends that the legislation around ADVOs be changed as a matter of priority to add coercive control to the definition of domestic violence and therefore increase the number of victims who will be able to access justice for that type of abuse.

The report comes as a result of the 2020-1 Inquiry into Coercive Control, which saw over 150 submissions and numerous days of public hearings on the issue.

The Government must now respond to the Committee’s recommendations within six months. DVNSW’s key recommendation that NSW prioritise improving the civil law and updating the definition of domestic violence to explicitly include coercive controlling behaviours was adopted by the committee.

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