Coercive control inquiry hears evidence on criminalising behaviour

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle has re-affirmed state Labor's commitment to criminalising coercive and controlling behaviour in NSW following three days of public hearings.

Ms Doyle, who is Labor's spokesperson for Prevention of Domestic Violence, said there is overwhelming evidence legislation must include measures to deal with coercive control.

Chair and deputy of the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control, Natalie Ward MLC, with Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle.

Chair and deputy of the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control, Natalie Ward MLC, with Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle.

"Domestic and family violence offences take many shapes and forms. What they have in common is the intention of perpetrators to control and assert power over their victims," she said.

"Reform in this area is happening around the world, particularly in the UK, where courts have seen a doubling of prosecutions as domestic violence is recognised as more than a one off incident, but a pattern of harmful behaviour.

"The law sends a strong signal to everyone in the community about what is and isn't acceptable. We have the opportunity to enact potentially life-saving, best practice legal reform in NSW."

More than 140 written submissions have so far been received by a NSW Parliamentary Joint Select Committee examining coercive control. They have come from individual victim-survivors, researchers, frontline services and non-government organisations.

Natalie Ward MLC (Liberal), Trish Doyle MP (Labor), Jess Hill , author of See what you made me do, and Abigail Boyd MLC (Greens).

Natalie Ward MLC (Liberal), Trish Doyle MP (Labor), Jess Hill , author of See what you made me do, and Abigail Boyd MLC (Greens).

The committee heard evidence from a range of witnesses including domestic violence services, legal groups, academics, international bodies and victim-survivors.

"My aim, and that of other committee members, is to hear the views from a wide range of voices and undertake thoughtful deliberations to ensure the very best outcome. I personally want to see gold standard legislation to criminalise coercive controlling behaviour," said Ms Doyle.

"I acknowledge and thank everyone who has taken the time to write submissions to the committee. I especially acknowledge the women who testified, who, in the past, have found themselves, or who currently find themselves, in situations of coercive control. We know that they are doing that for the benefit of others and I commend them for that."

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse involving repeated patterns of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse. It is often a precursor to intimate partner homicide.