01 May 2024

The NSW Government will today launch an advertising campaign to raise public awareness and understanding of coercive control.

Using the tagline, “It’s not love, it’s coercive control. Know the signs of abuse,” this campaign uses video, audio and static advertisements with the slogan to show coercive control as a pattern of abusive behaviour over time.

Coercive control is insidious and can manifest in many ways. It is a pattern of behaviour which may include financial abuse, threats against pets or loved ones, tracking someone’s movements, or isolating them from friends and family to control them.

This campaign was a recommendation of the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control, which highlighted the need to support community awareness of coercive control prior to the commencement of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022.

NSW is the first Australian jurisdiction to introduce a standalone dedicated offence of coercive control.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 will criminalise coercive control in current or former intimate partner relationships in NSW starting from 1 July 2024. If found guilty, perpetrators can face up to a maximum of 7 years in prison.

The campaign was developed with over 70 stakeholders from the Coercive Control Implementation and Evaluation Taskforce and ten associated reference groups. This included victim-survivors through the Lived Expertise Reference Group.

This campaign follows the launch of a website in August 2023, designed to ensure the NSW public has access to credible information about coercive control.

NSW Police are also undergoing coercive control training, to ensure they are prepared for the implementation of this reform.

Members of the NSW Government will be joined by other NSW Parliamentary Members, in a signal that a multipartisan approach will be taken on issues of women’s safety and domestic and family violence.

The importance of an awareness campaign on this topic was laid bare by market research which showed that 32 percent of respondents had not heard of the term coercive control, and only 26 percent had both heard the term and understood what it meant.

Coercive control has been strongly linked to intimate partner homicide, with the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team finding that in 97% of intimate partner domestic violence homicides in NSW between 2000 and 2018 were preceded by the perpetrator using emotional and psychological abuse as a form of coercive control towards the victim.

Find out more about coercive control

Prue Car, Deputy Premier of New South Wales, said:

“Coercive control is an insidious and damaging form of domestic violence – it can leave victim survivors feeling isolated, vulnerable, and alone.

"This campaign is vital in ensuring the broader public know what coercive control looks like, and perpetrators know what they are doing is wrong.

“The past few weeks have brought into sharp focus the need for urgent action on women’s safety.

“The NSW Government is committed to taking meaningful action when it comes to domestic and family violence, with a special Cabinet meeting to be held this week to discuss the Government’s response to gendered and domestic violence.

“All options are on the table when it comes to the prevention of family and domestic violence.”

Attorney General Michael Daley said:

“From 1 July, coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships will be a crime punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment.

“The NSW Government is committed to addressing domestic abuse, including coercive control.

“This campaign highlights that abuse against a current or former intimate partner is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said:

"Coercive control is behaviour designed to exercise domination and control over another, and can be hard to spot because it can be deeply contextual.

“This campaign is vital because it helps build community awareness of coercive control and what it looks like in intimate partner relationships, with the ultimate goal of saving lives.

“These ads depict abusive behaviours that are, regrettably, all too familiar to some people in our community. It shines a light on this insidious abuse before it escalates and results in homicide.

“Coercive control laws will have a profound impact on the way that our justice system assesses and manages domestic violence cases, and the government is now making sure people recognise the signs and know what it is.”

Emma Hurst, Member of the Legislative Council, Member of the Animal Justice Party, said:

“As someone who has been the victim of domestic violence, I have also experienced the effects of coercive control. It is hard to explain the experience of coercive control, but someone having to know where you are at all times, and being continuously verbally abusive, has the ability to destroy someone’s life in so many ways.

“Animals are frequently used as tools of coercive control, which can involve threatening violence towards the animal, or to kill or get rid of the animal, if the victim does not comply. We continue to look towards legislative options to tackle this insidious form of coercive control.”

Member of the Alex Greenwich, Independent Member for Sydney said:

“The NSW Parliament came together to pass landmark legislation to criminalise coercive control, and now with the nation’s focus rightly on gendered violence this advertisement campaign seeks to make NSW a safer place by helping people in all types of relationships, including same-sex relationships, recognise and report coercive control.”

Michael Regan, Independent Member for Wakehurst said:

“Having seen up close the personal damage coercive control has on a person and those around them, I am proud that NSW Parliament is leading the nation with these reforms. We need the whole country to get on board on now.”

Dr. Joe McGirr, Independent Member for Wagga Wagga said:

“It’s alarming to realise that 97 per cent of domestic violence murder victims had been subject to coercive control prior to their deaths.

“Coercive control is a red flag that can point to horrifying outcomes so it’s very important to raise awareness about this totally unacceptable abuse as part of wider efforts to prevent domestic violence and improve safety for women and children.”

Roy Butler, Independent Member for Barwon said:

"The signs of Domestic Violence are often obvious: physical injury, loud, aggressive interactions - it's a scourge in our community. Coercive Control can be even more damaging, and when it occurs, it's often not noticeable to anyone but the victim and perpetrator. Coercive Control can also be a precursor to physical violence and has no place in society. I welcome this new protection against coercive control."

Judy Hannan, Independent Member for Wollondilly said:

"While we stand here to call out violence against women, we need to remember we have a voice and there are many others that should be here today who have been taken at no fault of their own. It is the victim’s silence that we need to remember and we need to call out for them."

Support Services:

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call the Police on Triple Zero / 000.

For confidential advice, support, and referrals, contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.