Prevent domestic violence tragedies. Make coercive control illegal.

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In light of the recent murder of Hannah Clarke and her three beautiful children by their father, we say enough is enough. It's time that the government makes a meaningful and immediate change by outlawing controlling behaviours that lead to violent tragedies. That's why I'm calling to make coercive control illegal.

Coercive control is described as a wide range of controlling behaviours that one person commits against another person (usually a current or former intimate partner). These behaviours collectively strip the other person of their autonomy and sense of self-worth.

This typically involves some or all of the following: physical violence, intimidation, degradation, isolation and regulation. Some coercive control behaviours are already illegal, but not enough are.

Coercive control can take many forms, all of them doing harm and laying the foundation for further violence. For example, some offenders have:

- threatened to expose private photographs of their partner or ex-partner
-prevented their partner from ending the relationship by threatening to, or actually engaging in, self-harm
- confiscated or destroyed their partner’s mobile phone
-deleted all male contacts on their partner’s social media
-threatened to or actually harmed their partner’s pets
-demanded that their partner eat certain foods
-demanded that their partner sleep on the floor
-prohibited their partner from seeking or continuing employment
-controlled their partner’s finances, with one giving his partner an allowance out of her own income
-conducted regular inspections of their partner’s home or body for evidence of infidelity.

For all the work that has been done to end family violence in recent years, it is surprising to note that most of the above behaviours – with the exception of actual or threatened physical violence and stalking – are not criminal. The only way these violent behaviours are at all illegal are when an individual has been issued an intervention or protection order - but what message does it send to victims if the abuse they suffer is only criminal if it violates a court order? We have seen the horrific reaction some violent partners have to an AVO. We need to get in early, and prevent things escalating to tragedy by making coercive control illegal.

Coercive control is already illegal in the UK. Why not in Australia? How many more lives are to be taken for any change to occur?

Please sign and share this petition to make a stand against all forms of violent behaviour. We need to do all we can to end family violence.