National Principles Consultation Team: Response to draft National Principles to Address Coercive Control
This submission provides feedback on the draft National Principles to Address Coercive Control, drawing on ANROWS research and previous submissions focused on coercive control.
The draft National Principles to Address Coercive Control (“the National Principles”) were released for feedback in late 2022. The National Principles are intended to create a shared national understanding of coercive control, to be used by government and non-government organisations, and to promote greater community awareness.
ANROWS’s submission commends the efforts to introduce a set of National Principles to support a shared and consistent understanding of coercive control across Australia. ANROWS draws on our body of research and previous submissions to provide specific feedback on each of the National Principles as follows:
- Common features: ANROWS supports the definition of coercive control as a pattern of behaviour and the recognition that it can occur outside of intimate partner relationships. ANROWS suggests that coercive control should be defined as the overarching context for domestic and family violence (DFV), as well as other clarifications on language and definitions.
- Impacts: ANROWS supports the inclusion of recognition that coercive control is a risk factor in intimate partner and child homicide cases as well as discussion of the impacts of coercive control on victim and survivors.
- Community understanding: ANROWS agrees that it is important to improve understanding of coercive control among service providers, police, the legal system and the community. ANROWS suggests that other groups such as the media, perpetrators, general practitioners and workplaces be included in this principle.
- Effects of discrimination and inequality: ANROWS supports the identification of the effects of discrimination and inequality on victims and survivors.
- Lived experience: ANROWS supports the focus on ensuring that the lived experience of victims and survivors informs policies and responses to coercive control. ANROWS suggests that further consideration should be paid to how learnings from death reviews and intimate partner homicide research are discussed.
- Coordinated approach to prevention, early intervention, response and recovery: ANROWS agrees with the need for a coordinated approach to prevention, early intervention, response and recovery that allows victims and survivors to access integrated services and supports.
- Criminalisation of coercive control: ANROWS agrees that the criminalisation of coercive control must be accompanied by other responses, should be guided by the National Principles, and must be underpinned by training in understanding coercive control for police and judicial officers.
- Unintended consequences of criminalisation: ANROWS suggests that the discussion of unintended consequences should be integrated into National Principle 7 and identifies additional consequences for inclusion.
ANROWS’s submission also includes overall feedback on the National Principles. ANROWS states support for the inclusion of a focus on strengthening and utilising the evidence base to inform responses to coercive control, as well as enhancing data collection to support ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Suggestions for improvement include, but are not limited to:
- The inclusion of an additional principle that addresses the potential for the application of, and improvements to, existing legislation to address coercive control
- A clearer articulation of the purpose of the document, and the National Principles themselves, to ensure that they are effectively translated into practice
- A clearer articulation of the scope of coercive control covered by the National Principles
- Inclusion of clear references or interactive links between the individual National Principles to assist readers when they are read in isolation.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2022). Response to draft National Principles to Address Coercive Control [Submission]. ANROWS.