Coercive control is now central to discussions about legislative, policy and frontline responses to domestic and family violence (DFV) in Australia. Australian jurisdictions have a critical opportunity to learn from the experience in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. Since 2015, laws making coercive control a criminal offence have been enacted in England/Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, with similarities and differences in the legislative provisions across these countries. It is important that Australian legislative, policy and broader implementation decisions are informed by detailed information about the operation and outcomes of these offences. My project seeks to contribute to our understanding in Australia of how UK coercive control offences are working on the ground. I will be travelling to England, Wales and Scotland1 in September 2022 for four weeks to gain insights through semi-structured interviews and/or focus groups with frontline DFV service practitioners about the operation and outcomes of the laws in relation to: • How women are navigating a pathway to safety – encompassing but not limited to: women’s identification of their experience as abusive; help-seeking and formal reporting; safety after reporting to police; enablers and barriers to safety at any stage. • Domestic violence service delivery- including: risk assessment processes; inter-agency dynamics with police and other services; resourcing implications. Further information about coercive control and my project’s context, rationale and approach, including research questions, is outlined below.
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