Coercive Control Laws Likely to be in effect from July 2024

Coercive Control Laws Likely to be in effect from July 2024

Coercive control laws in effect July from 2024

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse. It occurs when someone repeatedly hurts, scares, or isolates another person to control them.  

The NSW Government have been working towards enacting legislation to criminalise coercive control since the introduction of The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Bill 2022 into parliament in October of 2022, and has since said that the new legislation is likely to commence in July 2024.

The new offence of coercive control will carry a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and will criminalise ‘abusive behaviour towards current or former intimate partners’. It won’t apply retrospectively, meaning that it cannot apply to offences that have occurred prior to its enactment.

To be found guilty of the offence, the following 5 elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. “An adult engages in a course of conduct repeatedly and continuously,
  2. The course of conduct is ‘abusive behaviour’ that involves violence, threats or intimidation; and/or coercion or control of the person against whom the behaviour is directed,
  3. The accused intends the course of conduct to coerce or control the other person,
  4. A reasonable person would consider that the course of conduct would be likely to cause:
    • the other person fear that violence will be used against them: or
    • a serious adverse impact on their capacity to engage in some or all of the other person’s ordinary day to day activities,
  5. The course of conduct is directed at a current or former intimate partner.”

Importance of Legislating Coercive Control

NSW will become the first State to legislate against coercive control. The new legislation recognizes the experiences of victim-survivors of family violence and forces perpetrator accountability. It recognizes that violence and abuse can be a pattern and aims to reduce violence against women and domestic homicide.

The new legislation is supported by $5.6 million in initial funding for coercive control training for police, in multiple awareness campaigns and in educational resources to ensure that the law is effectively applied by police.

In addition, the NSW Government has announced further support to women and children experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence with the following investments announced in the 2023-24 Budget:

  • $52.7 million for new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and medical and forensic officers,
  • $39.1 million in new funding to prevent domestic, family and sexual violence and support victim safety,
  • $13 million to expand access to the Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper trial to include domestic and family violence victim-survivors.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, there are a number of areas of support available.

If this article has created concerns for you or, you would like to discuss your situation, please contact our Team of Solicitors on 8525 2700 or you can click here to request an appointment with one of our experienced Family Law Team.

Written by Mia Doncevski
Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

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