Everyone deserves to feel safe at home. But for so many, home is where they are most at risk. 

Over the last decade, public awareness of domestic violence has grown, thanks to the tireless work of advocates like Rosie Batty. Yet despite that, at least one woman is murdered by a current or former partner every week. We need to do more to protect victims of domestic violence and abuse.

We can start by recognising the full spectrum of domestic violence and abuse in our laws.

When people think of domestic abuse, they tend to think of physical violence. But domestic abuse is often more complex than that. Many victims of domestic abuse live in a constant state of fear, in relationships marked by dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour. This abuse is called ‘coercive control’.

Perpetrators of coercive control – also called ‘intimate terrorism’ – seek to control their victims with actual or threatened harm. Whether it’s demanding that partners cut contact with their friends or family, restricting their access to money, monitoring their calls and messages, or directing their day-to-day activities, these patterns of controlling behaviour are clear and damaging examples of domestic abuse. 

We know that most women who have been murdered by a current or former partner were subject to controlling behaviour before they were killed. 

But the law currently doesn’t recognise patterns of controlling behaviour as a crime. Our laws need to change to protect victims of all domestic abuse and to prevent more tragic murders.

Which is why we’ve introduced a Bill that recognises these dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour for what they are – domestic abuse.

KEY POINTS

  • Many victims of domestic abuse live in a constant state of fear, in relationships marked by dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour.
  • Perpetrators of coercive control seek to control their victims with actual or threatened harm.
  • Most women who have been murdered by a current or former partner were subject to controlling behaviour before they were killed.
  • Our Bill will make coercive control a crime – but it’s just the beginning of a series of much-needed reforms to ensure that everyone can feel safe in their own home.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT NOW

Everyone deserves to feel safe at home. But for so many, home is where they are most at risk. 

Over the last decade, public awareness of domestic violence has grown, thanks to the tireless work of advocates like Rosie Batty. Yet despite that, at least one woman is murdered by a current or former partner every week. We need to do more to protect victims of domestic violence and abuse.

We can start by recognising the full spectrum of domestic violence and abuse in our laws. 

KEY POINTS

  • Many victims of domestic abuse live in a constant state of fear, in relationships marked by dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour.
  • Perpetrators of coercive control seek to control their victims with actual or threatened harm.
  • Most women who have been murdered by a current or former partner were subject to controlling behaviour before they were killed.
  • Our Bill will update our archaic domestic violence laws to make coercive control a crime – but it’s one in a series of much-needed reforms to ensure that everyone can feel safe in their own home.

When people think of domestic abuse, they tend to think of physical violence. But domestic abuse is often more complex than that. Many victims of domestic abuse live in a constant state of fear, in relationships marked by dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour. This abuse is called ‘coercive control’.

Perpetrators of coercive control – also called ‘intimate terrorism’ – seek to control their victims with actual or threatened harm. Whether it’s demanding that partners cut contact with their friends or family, restricting their access to money, monitoring their calls and messages, or directing their day-to-day activities, these patterns of controlling behaviour are clear and damaging examples of domestic abuse. 

We know that most women who have been murdered by a current or former partner were subject to controlling behaviour before they were killed. 

But the law currently doesn’t recognise patterns of controlling behaviour as a crime. Our laws need to change to protect victims of all domestic abuse and to prevent more tragic murders.

Which is why we’ve introduced a Bill that recognises these dangerous patterns of controlling behaviour for what they are – domestic abuse.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT NOW

Our Bill means that people in abusive relationships will have the confidence to seek help before it’s too late, knowing the police will recognise the crimes committed against them.

It means that the police and other frontline organisations will have the knowledge, skills and resources to help victims of domestic abuse more effectively.

It means that our legal system will be able to give protection to victims of all domestic abuse, whether or not they are also victims of physical violence.

And it means that those who perpetrate patterns of controlling behaviour won’t be able to hide behind inadequate laws.

Domestic abuse will affect one in four women, and right now the law is failing to recognise and protect them.

With your help, we can change the law to recognise that everyone has the right to feel safe in their own homes. 

Criminalising coercive control is only one stage in the campaign to stop domestic violence and abuse. To be effective, we need a wide-reaching education program for schools, workplaces, community groups and wider society to help people understand that coercive control is domestic abuse and that it is wrong.  

We need to train police officers and other first responders, as well as those within the legal and judicial system, so that they can recognise coercive control and act to protect victims.  We need to increase frontline support services so that victim-survivors can get the help they need to stay safe, and we must urgently increase social housing so that people who leave abuse have access to secure accommodation. 

Our Bill can’t stand on its own — it’s part of much-needed broader social change.  That’s why we are continuing to work with key stakeholders to make sure we can put all the necessary pieces in place to keep people safe.

The Greens acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We acknowledge that these lands were stolen and sovereignty was never ceded. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.