The criminalization of coercive control: The benefits and risks of criminalization from the vantage of victim-survivors

Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Sandra L. Walklate, Silke Meyer, Ellen Reeves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The debate and law reform activity surrounding the need to criminalise coercive and controlling behaviours has spanned the globe. Those in favour of criminalisation argue that the law sets the standard for acceptable behaviour. Others urge caution, noting that law reforms introduced to improve responses to different forms of violence against women have historically brought about unintended consequences which undermine women’s access to justice. This debate has occurred largely in the absence of any significant evidence as to the views of victim-survivors of domestic and family violence. Drawing on the findings of an Australian national survey of victim-survivors views on the criminalization of coercive control, this chapter addressed this knowledge gap. Privileging the voices of victim-survivors of coercive control we explore their views on the role of law, the benefits and risks of criminalising coercive control and the (potential) impacts of criminalisation on justice and safety outcomes for them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Criminalisation of Violence against Women
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Perspectives
EditorsHeather Douglas, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Leigh Goodmark, Sandra Walklate
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780197651841
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Publication series

NameInterpersonal Violence
PublisherOxford University Press


  • coercive control
  • criminalisation
  • criminal law
  • law reform
  • victim-survivors

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