EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
The criminalisation of coercive control: A national study of victims’ and survivors’ views on the need for, benefits, risks and impacts of criminalisation
There has been increasing debate surrounding the need to criminalise coercive and controlling behaviours. Advocates in favour of criminalisation note the experience of international jurisdictions which have implemented stand-alone criminal offences of coercive control, such as England and Wales, as evidence of the need for similar protections in law in Australia. Others have urged caution, noting that law reforms introduced to improve responses to different forms of violence against women have historically brought about unintended consequences that have undermined women’s access to justice. This national project will investigate the views of victims and survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) on proposals to criminalise coercive control.
This project aims to:
- document victims' and survivors’ experiences of current responses to identify strengths and weaknesses, training and education needs, and service gaps
- provide insights into the views of victims and survivors on the role of law, benefits of criminalising coercive control, perceived risks, and the (potential) impacts of criminalisation on justice and safety outcomes for them.
The project adopts a multi-methods research design that combines a scoping review, victim and survivor survey, and in-depth interviews with victims and survivors. This approach will allow the research to capture victim and survivor views and experiences and use these to develop new knowledge and policy recommendations. While the research is national in its focus, we have built in a state-based case study to take stock of victims' and survivors’ views and experiences of the impact of the Tasmanian 2004 reforms to criminalise emotional abuse and intimidation.