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Coercive control is when someone repeatedly hurts, scares or isolates another person to control them. It’s domestic abuse and it can cause serious harm.
Learn more about coercive control.
In November 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 (the Act). The Act was passed following the NSW Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control recommending a criminal offence of coercive control, and after detailed and public consultation on an exposure Draft Bill.
The Act makes coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships a criminal offence. The offence occurs when an adult engages in a ‘course of conduct’ of abusive behaviour that is intended to coerce or control the other person (the coercive control offence). The offence has not commenced yet – and will likely commence in June 2024. The Act also provides a definition of ‘domestic abuse’ for the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. The definition will commence in February 2024.
The Act also requires that an Implementation and Evaluation Taskforce (the Taskforce) be formed to provide advice to the Minister on training and education, precise commencement dates, and consultation with stakeholders, particularly with sector-specific Reference Groups.
Beyond legislation, the NSW Government’s response to domestic and family violence already includes significant investments across housing, crisis accommodation, counselling, case management, court advocacy, policing, education and health.
As part of the 2022-23 Budget, the NSW Government announced in June 2022 that more women and children experiencing domestic and family violence will be supported by $69.6 million in new funding, building on the NSW Government’s landmark $484.3 million investment in housing and related support services as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Strategy.
These legislative reforms are also backed by $5.6 million in initial funding for coercive control training for police, in multiple awareness campaigns and in educational resources.
The Department of Communities and Justice released a discussion paper in October 2020 on coercive and controlling behaviour in the context of domestic and family violence in NSW. The discussion paper highlights key questions for any potential reform.
This paper was a guide to help inform further consideration of this complex topic.
View or download a copy of the coercive control discussion paper. (PDF, 729.9 KB)
In December 2021, the NSW Government committed to supporting, in full, in part or in principle, 17 of the 23 unanimous recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control.
This included consulting on and introducing a stand-alone offence to address coercive control in intimate partner relationships as well as possible amendments to other existing laws.
Read the NSW Government's response to the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee.
11 Sep 2023