Today, the Queensland Government advised that it will introduce legislation to classify coercive control as a criminal offence. The Government aims to achieve this by the end of 2023. The Government has issued a press release advising that they are taking this historic step to address the emerging finding that coercive control is one of the most common factors occurring in the period prior to intimate partner homicide.
Presently, coercive control is conduct that can constitute an act of domestic violence and form the basis of a protection order. Coercive control is a pattern of controlling and manipulative behaviour designed to intimidate, isolate and control a person. Signs that this is occurring can include:
- financial control, such as limiting access to funds to meet expenses
- excessive or out of the ordinary monitoring of movement, such as placing cameras around the house or installing apps that track location
- restriction of autonomy, such as limiting access to transport and phones.
Criminalisation is part of a multi-faceted strategy to improve the recognition and prevention of coercive control and to provide additional support to the current domestic and family violence regime in Queensland. As part of this strategy, the Government also intends to put these further measures into place:
- a Commission of Inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence
- expansion of the domestic and family violence courts
- better support for women
- a special strategy for First Nations communities
- funding for perpetrator programs
- the expansion of high-risk teams and co-responder models to ensure victim access to appropriate services
- increased education to children and young people about domestic and family violence.
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