Coercive Control in Queensland
The Queensland Government has announced that the State will introduce legislation to make coercive control a criminal offense by the end of 2023.
The overhaul of laws and practices to better protect Queenslanders from domestic and family violence and hold perpetrators to account also includes:
- New programs to recognize and prevent coercive control;
- Commission of Inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence;
- Expansion of the Domestic and Family Violence Courts;
- Better support for women;
- Special strategies for First Nation communities;
- Funding for perpetrator programs to stop the cycle of violence;
- Expansion of High-Risk Teams and co-responder models to ensure victims receive a joint response from police and domestic violence services; and
- Increased respectful relationships education to all Queensland children and young people.
‘Coercive control’ is a form of domestic violence in which a perpetrator uses a pattern of behaviours to dominate and control their victim. Some common examples of coercive control include isolating or turning a person against their family and friends, enforcing rigid rules, humiliating or insulting a person, monitoring a person’s time, movements, and communication, and other acts that intimidate or restrict a person.
Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz conducted research into technology-facilitated coercive control in the context of post-separation parenting. She explained that “it often begins with gestures that appear flattering. They put their victim on a pedestal and make them feel wanted and loved.
It could start with a request to continuously text photos of where they are and what they’re doing or calling repeatedly on FaceTime so they can see their location…but before they know it, the demands become relentless”.
Although the legislative changes related to criminal matters, coercive control continues to impact family members during a relationship and post-separation. In this light, the introduction of this new legislation will have a significant effect on family law matters.
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