Criminalising coercive control

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Consultation has concluded. Thanks for your contributions.

We want your help to criminalise coercive control in South Australia.

What's being decided?

We are working to make coercive control against the law in South Australia.

Coercive control is an insidious and often unrecognised form of domestic abuse that is difficult to fit within existing criminal offences.

After a period of in-depth engagement with stakeholders, the Government has drafted the Criminal Law Consolidation (Coercive Control) Amendment Bill 2023, which creates a new criminal offence of coercive control.

It defines when controlling behaviours against intimate partners will be punishable by the criminal justice system.


Background

Coercive control is when someone intentionally tries to control another person or make them behave in a certain way by doing or saying things that make them feel afraid, ashamed, anxious, unsure or upset.

This behaviour seriously impairs someone's freedom to make their own choices and act on their own preferences and best interests.

It is a pattern of behaviour that can involve many different forms of abuse. It isn't necessarily physically violent.

Although it can occur in different contexts, coercive control is often present in abusive intimate partner relationships. This could be between people who are married, in committed partnerships or people who are dating.

In South Australia, the law currently does not recognise many coercive behaviours as criminal - especially their repeated use within a relationship. This is particularly the case for non-physical types of violence or abuse.

The draft Bill aims to criminalise this type of behaviour.


Get involved

We are currently seeking feedback on the draft Bill and want to hear from the South Australian community.

Find out more by:

You can then have your say by:

  • taking our survey below and telling us what you think of the draft Bill
  • emailing a written submission to LLPSubmissions@sa.gov.au


What are the next steps?

Your feedback will help inform the final version of the Bill that will be introduced to Parliament.

We want your help to criminalise coercive control in South Australia.

What's being decided?

We are working to make coercive control against the law in South Australia.

Coercive control is an insidious and often unrecognised form of domestic abuse that is difficult to fit within existing criminal offences.

After a period of in-depth engagement with stakeholders, the Government has drafted the Criminal Law Consolidation (Coercive Control) Amendment Bill 2023, which creates a new criminal offence of coercive control.

It defines when controlling behaviours against intimate partners will be punishable by the criminal justice system.


Background

Coercive control is when someone intentionally tries to control another person or make them behave in a certain way by doing or saying things that make them feel afraid, ashamed, anxious, unsure or upset.

This behaviour seriously impairs someone's freedom to make their own choices and act on their own preferences and best interests.

It is a pattern of behaviour that can involve many different forms of abuse. It isn't necessarily physically violent.

Although it can occur in different contexts, coercive control is often present in abusive intimate partner relationships. This could be between people who are married, in committed partnerships or people who are dating.

In South Australia, the law currently does not recognise many coercive behaviours as criminal - especially their repeated use within a relationship. This is particularly the case for non-physical types of violence or abuse.

The draft Bill aims to criminalise this type of behaviour.


Get involved

We are currently seeking feedback on the draft Bill and want to hear from the South Australian community.

Find out more by:

You can then have your say by:

  • taking our survey below and telling us what you think of the draft Bill
  • emailing a written submission to LLPSubmissions@sa.gov.au


What are the next steps?

Your feedback will help inform the final version of the Bill that will be introduced to Parliament.

  • The Government is working to make coercive control against the law in South Australia. 

    This survey asks for your feedback on different parts of a draft Bill that aims to criminalise coercive control. It should only take about 10 minutes. 

    Consultation has concluded. Thanks for your contributions.

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