As Georges River Council holds its third No to Domestic Violence Walk on Friday, November 24, Councillor Colleen Symington has told of the scourge of Coercive Control used by domestic violence abusers to control their partners. The NSW Government introduced the The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Bill 2022 to criminalise Coercive Control. Georges River Council has produced a Coercive Control Pocket Guide at the instigation of Councillor Symington to warn victims of its insidious effects. But Councillor Symington said the wider community has a very poor understanding of coercive control. "Coercive control is a term used to describe the pattern of abusive treatment of predominantly women by their intimate partner," Councillor Symington said. "It is insidious and designed to strip someone of their sense of autonomy and self-worth. This treatment is used to intimidate, punish, belittle, frighten, and ultimately gain total control of their victim. "Domestic Abuse is not selective, and it can happen to you no matter who you are or where you live. On average one woman is killed in Australia every 10 days by an intimate partner. "The Domestic Violence Death Review Team found that 97 per cent of intimate partner domestic violence homicides in NSW between 2000-2018 were preceded by coercive control, where the perpetrator used emotional and psychological abuse towards the victim. "That's why NSW Parliament passed the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 to criminalise coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships. This will come into effect in 2024 after an extensive implementation period involving significant investment. If found guilty, perpetrators face up to seven years in prison. "I was surprised to learn that the wider community has a very poor understanding of coercive control. Raising awareness is vital because knowledge protects. "Because of this poor understanding,the Minns Labor Government in August launched a website dedicated to explaining Coercive Control nsw.gov.au/coercive-\\control "We need early intervention via school education programs to break this terrible cycle in our community. Children who grow up witnessing and experiencing Domestic Violence are more likely to be either perpetrators or victims later in their own intimate relationships. Their exposure to abuse also increases the likelihood of them turning to substance abuse. "This year is the 20th anniversary of my younger brother's death and I have been thinking a lot about how our abusive home life shaped the choices my brother made and the paths he took. Darren was handsome, sporty, charismatic and intelligent but he died of a heroin overdose at 38. "Recently, I found out that a relative is suffering from Cerebral Atrophy due to chronic alcoholism. That was his substance of choice just like my father and he became an abuser just like my father was and then went on to do that to his numerous partners and son. "I see now that they were both victims and the odds were stacked against them having normal lives. Dd they ever have a chance? That was over 50 years ago and only one family. "We must always remember that it is our collective responsibility to call out Domestic Abuse and say it is unacceptable."