Coercive control is now a crime in Queensland

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On 6 March 2024, Queensland passed laws to criminalise coercive control as a stand alone offence, becoming the second jurisdiction in Australia - after NSW - to do so.

The Queensland legislation is expected to come into force in 2025 and will carry a maximum jail sentence of 14 years.

What is coercive control?

Coercive control involves perpetrators using patterns of abusive behaviours over time in a way that creates fear and denies liberty and autonomy.

This legislation means that we are moving away from an incident-based response to domestic and family violence (DFV) and towards an approach that acknowledges and addresses the harmful patterns of controlling, coercive and other violent behaviours. This will help protect people in Queensland from this core element of DFV which, in itself, causes significant suffering and trauma.

There are several key advantaged to creating an offence of coercive control, these include;

  • Increased protection for people against an under-recognised yet core element of family and domestic abuse,
  • Preventing escalating forms of violence and abuse, including murder
  • Filling critical gaps in existing laws
  • Reducing misidentification and over-criminalisation of women
  • transforming community norms for acceptable and healthy, safe relationships.

As health care workers it is important that we build our understanding of domestic and family violence so that we can provide the best support to our patients and be aware of legislative changes and how they impact our work.