WA government calls for feedback on introducing coercive control laws

Hvae your say: Prevention of family and domestic violence minister Simone McGurk is calling for feedback on coercive control laws.

Hvae your say: Prevention of family and domestic violence minister Simone McGurk is calling for feedback on coercive control laws.

The WA government is calling on family violence-survivors, legal and family specialists and residents to have their say on coercive control laws.

The state government are looking at introducing laws against coercive control and it wants to ensure the legislation will benefit victim-survivors and not lead to adverse impacts for vulnerable people in the community.

Abuse can take many forms and coercive control is recognised as a red flag that can lead to further violence, and in some cases, intimate partner homicide.

Perpetrators use coercive control to undermine a victim-survivor's autonomy and capacity to resist or escape abuse.

They use behaviours such as intimidation, isolation and manipulation to maintain control, sometimes for years.

WA already recognises and responds to coercive control in a variety of ways through the criminal justice system.

Prevention of family and domestic violence minister Simone McGurk said an important part of the consultation would consider what the current awareness of coercive control was in the community and how frontline responders could recognise the patterns of abuse.

"The consultation process will complement the whole-of-government and community plans for reducing and addressing family violence, set out in Path to Safety: Western Australia's Strategy to Reduce Family and Domestic Violence 2020-2030," she said.

"It is a distressing reality that women in this state, and across the country, are being abused in this way by someone who is supposed to love and care for them.

"Coercive control is a pattern of persistent abusive behaviour that aims to manipulate, intimidate and isolate victims mentally, emotionally, socially and financially.

"As a government, we want to make sure any measures that are put in place achieve the best outcomes for victim-survivors, and that is why consultation is so important.

"The issue of coercive control requires more than a legislative response - we all need to consider how we can change the underlying attitudes that allow violence against women."

A Discussion Paper and further information about the process is available here.

The consultation will be open until July 30, 2022.

If you need support contact:

  • 1800 RESPECT
  • DV assist 1800 705 433
  • Men's Referral Service 1300 766 491