Coercive Control


Domestic and family violence (DVF) is a widespread issue in Australia affecting many men and women. Domestic violence in all its forms is an issue we all agree must end.  Domestic violence does not have to be physical harm to be deemed DVF. DVF can be in the form of non-physical abuse such as being controlled by another person. In Australia, non-physical domestic violence can be characterised as coercive control.  Unfortunately, many perpetrators are slipping through the cracks each day because coercive control is not criminalised under the Queensland Criminal Code.

Coercive control is a form of domestic violence whereby the perpetrator applies varying behaviors to control their victim. This can be in the form of humiliating the victim, micromanaging and instilling rules on the victim via non-physical means. It’s quite apparent that DVF can be more than physical abuse and unfortunately there is no blanket rule to stop it.

With the technology and means of communication available today, it is quite easy for a perpetrator to apply coercive control on their victim without causing physical harm. Lexi Kehl from the Queensland Law Society states, ‘being isolated and controlled can be even more devastating than being physically abused’.  The recent Clarke family incident has raised many concerns around the current domestic violence laws in Queensland and the need to criminalise coercive control.  If coercive control is not criminalised, many perpetrators are not being captured by the criminal code and are therefore not held accountable for their actions.

The Queensland Law Society has also released an article addressing coercive control in Queensland and the need for it to be criminalised under the Criminal Code. Read more here.

If you are experiencing domestic violence please call the Police and reach out to family and friends. Our family lawyers understand the sensitivity surrounding domestic violence and can assist you through the process of separation and divorce.

If you require any assistance regarding your family or relationship matter, we suggest you contact one of our family lawyers. We can be contacted on 07 3808 7777 or

John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin

Principal Director