Attorney general says bill, which will create a separate offence, could be ‘difference between life and death'.
AAP reports in The Guardian
Former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty is among a group of leading domestic and family violence campaigners calling for more work to be done on the New South Wales government’s proposed coercive control laws, introduced to parliament this week.
Batty, author Jess Hill and others including Renata Field, from peak body Domestic Violence New South Wales, have argued that, if the legislation is rushed, it could end up “traumatising” the people it aimed to protect.
But the state’s attorney general, Mark Speakman, rejected calls for further delays, insisting the legislation could mean the difference between life and death and needed to be enacted as soon as possible.
Speakman said “unprecedented consultation” had been undertaken formulating the bill.
Domestic Violence NSW, Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre, Women’s Legal Service NSW, and the Redfern Legal Centre are among the groups not supporting the bill in its current form.
The organisations cited concerns with the required proof of intent and its limitation to intimate partners.
The NSW Bar Association’s president, Gabrielle Bashir SC, said establishing that an accused intended to coerce or control is an important part of the proposed offence.
“Setting the bar at intention rather than a lower mental state will limit the spectre of the offence being used as a weapon against the very people that it is designed to protect,” she said.