Submission: Coercive control in domestic relationships

On 22 February the Economic Reference Group NSW (EARG NSW) made a submission to the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control’s inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships. 

The EARG is an informal group of community organisations which work collectively to influence government and industry responses to reduce the financial impact of family violence. 

RLC’s Financial Abuse Service NSW coordinates the EARG chapter in NSW. 

Our input is narrowly focused on responses to economic abuse based on casework experience.

Coercive control is complex both in nature and in understanding not only by victim survivors, but by the judiciary, the police, and the broader community.

Even within the domestic and family violence (DFV) sector there are differing views on approaches to criminalising coercive control.

EARG NSW also recognises that DFV doesn’t occur in a vacuum and that introducing a new offence criminalising coercive control will have broader impacts that need consideration, such as how it would interact with the family law system, migration law and social security. It will also have policy and practice implications for services that support victim survivors such as the DFV sector, and the banking industry.

EARG NSW members are of the view that coercive control, which should include economic abuse, should be recognised as part of DFV. However, we have concerns that introducing a law to criminalise coercive control will not necessarily achieve better outcomes for victim survivors, especially without a robust, thorough consultation, education for all sectors and proper funding.

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