Criminalising coercive control: Attorney-General’s Department (SA)
This submission emphasises the need to consider and mitigate the potential unintended consequences of criminalising coercive control. It draws on evidence from peer-reviewed research to highlight the need for training, resourcing, and monitoring and evaluation.
ANROWS provided a submission on the draft Criminal Law Consolidation (Coercive Control) Amendment Bill 2023 (SA; the draft Bill) to the South Australian Attorney-General’s Department.
This submission drew on the ANROWS peer-reviewed evidence base and emphasises the need for any progress towards criminalising coercive control to include consideration and mitigation of the potential unintended consequences. ANROWS highlighted the need to:
- ensure that the introduction of a coercive control offence is accompanied with training and resourcing to support police and legal actors to understand the principles of coercive control and administer the legislation in a manner that reduces the risk of misidentification and systems abuse
- underpin training with clear policies, efficient procedures, and an authorising environment supporting organisational culture change
- develop and implement a monitoring, evaluation and learning framework to guide the implementation, impact and effectiveness of the new coercive control offence and associated supports such as training. This should include input from people with lived expertise and should consider the potential for unintended consequences of the legislation’s application
- consider the potential for alternative and additional responses to coercive control beyond the introduction of a coercive control offence, including responses outside of the legal system and the revision of existing legislation.
The submission will be of interest to policymakers, practitioners and researchers working to respond to coercive control and to improve victims’ and survivors’ experiences of contact with the criminal justice system. While the submission is tailored to South Australia, most of the evidence is applicable across jurisdictions.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2024). Re: Criminalising coercive control [Submission]. ANROWS.