People who psychologically abuse their partners through controlling behaviour could soon spend ten years behind bars, if legislation inspired by Hannah Clarke and Preethi Reddy passes NSW parliament.
Shellhabour Labor MP Anna Watson will present a bill to criminalise coercive control next week.
She says she was forced in to action after a series of brutal murders of women at the hands of their current or former partners.
Hannah Clarke was doused in petrol and burned alive by her estranged husband, who ambushed the family on their way to school in Brisbane in February 2019. Her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, were also killed.
In March 2019 Preethi Reddy's body was found stuffed into a suitcase in her car in Sydney. A coroner found she had suffered blunt-force head injuries and stab wounds to her neck and back at the hands of her ex-partner.
Tasmania is currently the only Australian jurisdiction that has laws criminalising coercive control, but Ms Watson says she wanted laws in NSW that were "stronger and tighter".
Her drafted legislation, modelled off successful Scottish laws, would not only criminalise coercive control but introduce a mandatory sentence of five years for offenders.
It will create an offence for making another person subordinate, isolating them from sources of support, controlling their day to day activities, surveilling or stalking them, and more.
If the behaviour takes place in front of or within the hearing of a child, the mandatory sentence is increased to ten years.
"We know that when family and domestic violence issues are happening in the home around coercive controls, 80 per cent of those women end up losing their lives," Ms Watson said.
If the bill is passed, police officers and frontline services would then receive thorough training on how to detect patterns of abuse.
The MP has written to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to request she take the bill to national cabinet, and is in talks with the state government about whether they will support it.
"The time for candlelight vigils - that's over. The time for marching in the street - that's finished. We need to act now," she told AAP.
But Women's Legal Services NSW director Helen Campbell says any legislation would have to be pre-empted by police training.
"The advocates that we've been in touch with in Scotland have really emphasised to us that it was training and the community awareness aspects of it that were so important to making its introduction successful," she told AAP.
She says the WLSNSW hasn't decided its position on the criminalisation of coercive control, but says there is little point implementing new domestic violence laws when police so poorly implement the current ones.
"I'm sure they aren't given guns without demonstrating on a regular basis that they can shoot straight," she told AAP.
"I don't think that should be enforcing domestic violence legislation unless they can demonstrate on a regular basis that they understand what their guidelines are."
Australian Associated Press