New South Wales Shellharbour MP Anna Watson is naming her proposed coercive control bill ‘Preethi’s law’ in memory of Preethi Reddy, who was murdered by her former partner.
- A new bill proposed by NSW MP Anna Watson would enable various types of abuse over a period of time to be prosecuted as a single course of conduct
- MS Watson has named her proposed coercive control laws in memory of murder victim Preethi Reddy
- Preethi Reddy’s family say the law would be a power legacy for their beloved daughter and sister
The 32-year-old dentist was killed by her ex-boyfriend in March 2019.
Dr Reddy, who worked at a Blue Mountains dental practice at the time of her death, was previously employed at Dapto Smile Dental Centre in Ms Watson’s electorate.
As she was developing the bill, Ms Watson met with Dr Reddy’s parents to request their permission to use their daughters name and seek their support.
Her sister, Nithya Reddy, who is a junior doctor training in psychiatry, said her family believes the bill will save lives.
“My family were deeply honoured that Anna wanted to do that for my beautiful sister,” Dr Reddy said.
“It was difficult being reminded again that my sister is not here and that is a constant in our lives.
“It has the potential to significantly reduce the number of women and children who are killed every year in NSW, we know that 99 per cent of intimate partner homicide, coercive control has been an element.”
How the law would work
In the second reading of the bill in NSW Parliament today, Ms Watson said the bill will ensure the criminal law reflects that domestic abuse can often be a pattern or behaviour.
“The bill will improve the justice system by enabling abuse of various types which can take place over a period of time be prosecuted as a single course of conduct,” she said.
“It will give the victims confidence to report what they are enduring and knowing it is illegal could make all the difference.”
Ms Watson told the parliament the bill will help early detection and recognised it is not just physical, but also economic and emotional abuse.
She explained the new bill would define the behaviour as abuse if it was likely to have one of the more following effects:
- 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.
Government Minister offers bill praise
In Parliament, Anna Watson’s work towards coercive control laws received support from Liberal Party Minister, Shelley Hancock.
This week the NSW Attorney General Mark Speaker also provided the strongest indication yet he is supportive of introducing coercive control legislation, as he announced the Government had adopted new recommendations from a domestic violence death review team.
“While appropriate legislation that penalises this type of behaviour is an ongoing challenge for police and legal minds alike, evidence also demonstrates that coercive control can often be a precursor to homicide, which is one of many significant considerations for criminalisation,” he said.