Preethi’s Law – Expanding Domestic Violence Laws

Preethi’s Law 

New changes may be coming soon to the current Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act in NSW.

It is named after Ms Preethi Reddy, a young dentist who was murdered by her former partner/boyfriend Harshwardhan Narde who was described as controlling.

The new law has been introduced into parliament by the Greens MP, Ms Anna Watson.

In brief the new law will recognise that current gap in the NSW law of what constitutes domestic violence by recognising other abusive behaviours that are not physical but coercive.  Such as financial and emotional abuse and using pets and children as a means to control another person.  

In summary the following behaviour would be criminalised: –

  • Making the other person dependent on or subordinate to the person.
  • Isolating the other person from friends, from relatives or other sources of support.
  • Controlling regulating or monitoring the other persons day-to-day activities.
  • Depriving the other person of or restricting the other persons freedom of action.
  • Depriving the other person or restricting their access to support services of health practitioners or legal practitioners.
  • Frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing the other person.

Also, the above conduct need not be directed at the person only but done through a relative or friend of the person or directed at a person’s companion animal as means to control the person.

New penalties will also be introduced with the above behaviour capable of resulting in a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 5 years or a fine of $5,500, or both.

Furthermore, there would be an aggravating factor to these behaviours which would increase the maximum penalty of imprisonment to 10 years or a fine of $13,200, or both

Aggravating factors will include where the above conduct is: –

  • directed at a child of the other person, or
  • makes use of a child of the other person in directing the conduct at the other person, or
  • takes place in the presence or hearing of a child of the other person, and

the conduct has, or is reasonably likely to have, a serious adverse effect on the child.

Plus, the proposed new law will recognise that coercive control/abusive behaviour can occur even if the person in a domestic relationship is not in the same State as the abuser.

However, there will also be a new defence that will apply, being if the conduct was reasonable in the particular circumstances.

The proposed new law is currently in parliament and is undergoing the process of a parliamentary joint committee report.

We will soon know if NSW will finally recognise that domestic violence need not be physical and that emotional and controlling coercive behaviours have the same and sometimes even greater harmful effect on a person and is a form of domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, contact Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® for a free initial consultation.


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