Illawarra Newsroom

Watson ready to debate bold domestic violence bill


Shellharbour MP Anna Watson's push for ground breaking domestic violence legislation is set to begin being debated in state parliament tonight.

Watson's been lobbying the Attorney General to support her Coercive Control bill that would criminalise the behaviour in New South Wales.

In June, NSW Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Mark Speakman, stated in Parliament that "the Government is unable to commit to the creation of a new coercive control offence at this time."

Watson said the bill will ensure the criminal law reflects that domestic abuse can often be a pattern or behaviour.

"The bill will improve the justice system by enabling abuse of various types which can take place over a period of time, be prosecuted as a single course of conduct.

"The criminal law will better reflect how victims experience such abuse.

"It will give the victims confidence to report what they are enduring and knowing it is illegal could make all the difference," she said.

Watson said it is an absolutely important and critical issue for women who are facing family and domestic violence.

"We're at the point now where the Attorney General has had pressure applied to him.

"He is starting to realise that this is an important issue and the criminal act needs to be corrected.

Watson hopes politics doesn't come into play when debate begins and has called on the entire government to support the bill.

"I said to the Attorney General from the get-go that this should receive bipartisan support, this isn't an issue that should be kicked around like a political football.

"It's too important.

"This week another woman will be killed at the hands of her partner or her ex-partner.

"The week after that another woman will be killed and the week after that and another and another and another.

"I don't believe that we should be waiting to act on this law.

"It's so we can protect those women and their children from domestic terrorism," Watson said.

The Coercive Control bill would define the behaviour as abuse if it was likely to have one of the following effects; Making the other person dependent on or subordinate to the person, isolating the other person from friends, relatives or other sources of support, controlling regulating or monitoring the other persons day-to-day activities, depriving the other person of or restricting the other persons freedom of action, depriving the other person or restricting their access to support services of health practitioners or legal practitioners and frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing the other person.

Written by Travis Winks

Image: NSW Parliament