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Queensland has just criminalised coercive control and stealthing

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Queensland is now the second jurisdiction in Australia to do this.
Coercive control has been criminalised in Queensland.

Queensland has become the second jurisdiction in Australia to criminalise coercive control. It will carry a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.

NSW was the first state to make coercive control a standalone crime in 2022.

The new legislation in Queensland will also criminalise stealthing — the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex.

What is coercive control?

Coercive control is a form of domestic violence where a person denies a victim-survivor autonomy and independence over time.

Controlling behaviour in any type of relationship is considered coercive control, however, laws currently criminalise it for intimate relationships.

Findings from a national review of domestic and family violence found that over 80% of men who killed a current or previous female partner had exhibited non-violent behaviours against the partners they killed.

Hannah Clarke

Queensland committed to criminalising coercive control after the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, by her estranged partner in 2020.

The Clarke family started a campaign to raise awareness about coercive control, and “H.A.L.T” domestic violence in the wake of the murder. H.A.L.T stands for Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey, her three children.

After the law passed, Hannah’s mother Sue Clarke said they will “continue to speak out until coercive control is criminalised throughout Australia.”

Other states

NSW criminalised coercive control in November 2022, becoming the first state or territory to make it a standalone offence. It carries a sentence of up to seven years imprisonment.

Tasmania introduced laws criminalising family violence, including coercive behaviour, in 2004. It does not have a standalone law covering coercive control.

South Australia is in the early stages of drafting laws to criminalise coercive control. In Western Australia, a recent review recommended strengthening legislation to target coercive behaviour.

First Nations response

When NSW introduced coercive control laws, First Nations groups flagged that the proposal could further disadvantage women.

Advocacy group Sisters Inside and the Institute for Collaborative Race Research previously told TDA coercive control laws could lead to victim-survivors being “misidentified as perpetrators”, which they said happens “routinely”.

“Not only will Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls not be afforded protection by this legislation, they will be squarely targeted.”

Stealthing

Stealthing will become a criminal act in Queensland as part of the new laws passed today. It means the act of stealthing will be recognised as rape.

It comes as the state moves towards an affirmative consent model. This is where each person engaging in a sexual act must actively seek consent from the other person.

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