26 September 2023

Comments invited on family violence laws

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Proposed new laws to deal with domestic violence have been released for public comment, including criminalise controlling and abusive behaviours which could lead to murder.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said the draft Criminal Law Consolidation (Abusive Behaviour) Amendment Bill 2021 addressed a number of behaviours associated with domestic violence, including coercive control, a type of abuse that was often a precursor to domestic homicide.

Ms Chapman said examples included when a perpetrator tracked a victim’s every move; controlled what a victim wore, how they behaved and what they ate; or publicly, or privately, humiliated or degraded her or him.

She said the draft law sought to create a new criminal offence of abusive behaviour towards a current or former partner, with anyone found guilty to face up to five years’ jail, or seven years if the perpetrator involved a child in the abuse such as by threatening to hurt the victim’s child.

“Under this proposed Bill, the behaviour would have to be considered ‘unreasonable’ and occur on at least two or more occasions,” Ms Chapman said.

She said the draft Bill was modelled on the findings of a New South Wales Select Committee into coercive control.

Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention, Carolyn Power said the Government wanted to hear from key stakeholders as well as the wider community.

“I encourage those involved in the legal sector, domestic violence organisations or with lived experience to consider the draft Bill and provide their views,” Ms Power said.

The six-page draft Bill can be accessed at this PS News link and submissions, which are open until Saturday 2 October, can be made at this link.

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