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Coercive Control Campaign

Coercive Control 

Coercive control is at the core of domestic abuse that describes a person who uses controlling and manipulative behaviours against another person over a period of time for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination and control. [2]

The abusive behaviours that constitute coercive control are isolation, emotional manipulation, intimidation, physical or sexual assault, surveillance, humiliation and degradation and financial control.

It is often experienced by both adult and child victim-survivors as the most damaging and dangerous element of the abuse they have experienced which can cause severe and sometimes lifelong physical and psychological harm. It is also the single biggest known precursor to domestic homicide.

In a 2020 survey Women’s Safety NSW conducted with 72 victim-survivors of domestic and family violence, every one of them (100% or N=72) disclosed that they had experienced ‘psychological control and manipulation’ in their relationship.

Yet more that three-quarters (76% or N=53) felt existing laws in NSW do not provide police and courts with sufficient powers to address both non-physical and physical forms of domestic abuse. Coercive controlling behaviours have also been a prominent feature in domestic abuse cases across NSW, with 99% (or N = 111/112) of intimate partner domestic violence homicides that occurred in NSW between 10 March 2008 and 30 June 2016 reported the use of coercive and controlling behaviour toward the victim [3]All of the offenders were male. 

Currently in NSW it is not a criminal offence to engage in activities that constitute coercive control including controlling and manipulating behaviours such as isolation, emotional manipulation, surveillance, psychological abuse and financial restriction against another person.

Coercive control is at the core of domestic violence and is a precursor to physical violence. To effectively reform the law we need to change definition to include coercive control alongside system reforms that include specialisation of key magistrates and police plus development of effective training and guidelines.

It’s time for NSW to catch up!

What you can do to help:

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