ABC NEWS: Coercive control ad campaign launched NSW government criticised for doing too little as services plead for more funding

The NSW Government has rolled out an ad campaign about coercive control. Greens MP Abigail Boyd says she declined an invitation to the launch because she believes the government isn't doing enough. New laws criminalising coercive control will be implemented across the state in July.

As the domestic violence crisis casts its grim shadow over the political debate in New South Wales, the Minns Government will today launch an advertising campaign aimed at raising public awareness about coercive control. 

However Green's MP Abigail Boyd has opted out of the launch, refusing to stand alongside the government because of what she claims is a "failure" in funding for frontline services. 

"I was asked to stand next to the government while they made this announcement, in a show of what they hoped would be multi-partisan support for their approach to domestic and family violence," Ms Boyd said. 

"I couldn't in good conscience do that, knowing just how significantly the Labor government has failed when it comes to funding frontline services, and the evidence-based programs that we know are going to work."

The government's educational advertising campaign is being rolled out ahead of the introduction of coercive control laws in July, after the legislation was passed under the coalition government in 2022

The ads will run on social media and digital platforms, as well as in female bathrooms, shopping centres and at domestic airports. 

The Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said she had hoped the Greens would have stood beside the Government at the launch. 

"It is disappointing that there won't be representation from the Greens at the launch," she said.

"But as government, we're not going to play politics with this issue, it's too important.

"The purpose of the invitation was to certainly acknowledge the work done by the former government, and to send a unified message that coercive control is not acceptable."

Using the tagline, "It's not love, it's coercive control. Know the signs of abuse," the campaign aims to show that coercive control is a pattern of abuse that occurs over time.

"This is designed to raise awareness about the term coercive control and educate people about the behaviour," Ms Harrison said. 

"It's when someone repeatedly hurts or scares or isolates another person that they're in a relationship with. It may include financial abuse, tracking someone's movements, or isolating them from friends and family in order to control them."

The campaign was developed with more than 70 stakeholders from the Coercive Control Implementation and Evaluation Taskforce and ten associated reference groups, which includes victim-survivors.

Greens MP accuses government of trying to 'claim some points' 

Ms Boyd said the campaign had come three years after the parliamentary report into the issue, and that the coercive control implementation task force is "very poorly resourced".

"They've not had enough money to do this properly. We have what I view as a half-baked attempt at putting out a campaign that's really going to cut through to the people who need to receive that message," she said.

"It's so frustrating to be here in 2024, having seen all the recommendations handed down in all of the reports in New South Wales, and see them just ignored and not funded.

"And then for the government to stand up and try and claim some points for finally scraping together a long overdue advertising campaign on a bit of legislation that's coming into force that no one actually thinks is going to have any effect."

Opposition leader Mark Speakman said he supported the legislation and is seeking more details from the government about the nature of the ad campaign.

"I would like to get more details on Indigenous victim-survivors, culturally and linguistically diverse victim-survivors, and support services generally," he said.

"This is a really important piece of legislation, but what is more important is social awareness of the problem, and letting victim-survivors know where to get help."

He said Deputy Opposition Leader Natalie Ward was invited to the launch at late notice and was unable to attend due to prior commitments.

"It's certainly not a snub," he said.

Domestic violence services beg for more funding 

Domestic Violence NSW has repeated its call for a massive funding boost to help stem domestic violence in NSW.

It is demanding an urgent $145 million package to support domestic and family violence services.

The organisation's CEO Delia Donovan said that "immediate action" was needed "to support the over-stretched, under-resourced sector."

"Failure to invest in this will continue to impact victim survivors and children at an alarming rate," she said.

Ms Harrison conceded the government needed to boost funding, but would not say what extra money would be in the June budget.

"They are issues we're looking at in relation to the upcoming budget," she said.

"It's important that we do more. And we're looking at every possible way that we can.

"We've got the budget coming up in June. I can't make any guarantees before then. But I can tell you that this government is well and truly looking at every option we can to eradicate domestic and family violence."


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