AACBT Qld Pub Discussion: Saunders Coercive Control

30 May 2023
06:45 pm
- 08:00 pm
RedBrick Hotel
RedBrick Hotel, Annerley Road, Woolloongabba QLD, Australia
  • Heidi Saunders
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Exploring domestic and family violence: supporting safety in lived experiences of coercive control

Presenter: Heidi Saunders

Reconnect Health: Integrated Care and Queensland University of Technology


An important topic, and timely with changes coming to Queensland in 2023.

Coercive control is being increasingly recognised in policy and legislation, with the goal of improving sector response to Domestic and Family Violence (DFV). Specifically, coercive control will be recognised in the Queensland legal system by the end of 2023. Evidence shows that a systems approach is ideal for supporting a person experiencing coercive control, so everyone has a role.

During DFV Prevention Month (1-31 May 2023), this discussion will focus on building practitioner understanding regarding trauma-informed assessment of coercive control and building empowerment and safety in their clients, including how to encourage systemic involvement for those experiencing coercive control.


About this event:

The format will be a 1-hour, lecture-style presentation, in an informal setting, followed by approx. 15 min of open Q&A – bring your questions!


Key Learning Objectives

  1. Define and understand patterns of coercive control
  2. Conduct a risk assessment that goes beyond physical violence and also incorporates factors of coercive control
  3. Support clients with safety planning from CBT and systemic perspectives

This session is designed for those with casual familiarity of DFV – it will be assumed that attendees will have only a basic understanding of the topic.


Event abstract:

Coercive control recognises the full pattern of behaviour that can be involved in a Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) context, such as verbal and psychological abuse, gas-lighting, threats to harm or abandonment, criticism, financial abuse, controlling behaviours, jealousy, and systems abuse. This is in contrast of viewing DFV as single incidents of physical abuse, which has been common in some social and legal contexts until recently. Death reviews of homicides have recognised the importance of including patterns of coercive control behaviour as indicators of risk. This has led to coercive control being criminalised in New South Wales and it will be in Queensland at the end of 2023.

Methods of assessing coercive control have been developed and evaluated, which identify that the process of risk assessment needs to include:

  • Knowledge of the signs of coercive control
  • Understanding of the dynamic nature of coercive control patterns
  • A trauma-informed approach, considering influence of client attachment styles and support network
  • Empowerment of the client and family
  • An ongoing assessment approach, as DFV risk can fluctuate and change

For client support, research shows that a combination of advocacy, case-management, CBT, and other integrated psychotherapies help physical and psychological safety, as they can help to address depression, anxiety, and experiences of trauma while also planning for safety. However, other elements of DFV and coercive control, such as sexual abuse and high risk situations, require additional input from a systemic approach.

From the above, this discussion will focus on the dynamic nature of assessing risk in a trauma-informed approach, and how to support empowerment and safety for clients experiencing coercive control through use of CBT and systemic involvement.



Duration & Format / Training Modalities

This event will be approx. 60 minutes for CPD plus Q&A. This event does not include any catering in the ticket price.

Doors open at 6:30pm for a 6:45pm start.

Please note that this venue is not wheelchair accessible.


References – readings

  1. Hameed, M. et al. (2020) Psychological therapies for women who experience intimate partner violence. Cochrane Database Systematic Review, 7(1). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD013017.pub2
  2. Tirado-Munoz, J., Gilchrist, G., Farre, M., Hegarty, K., & Torrens, M. (2014). The efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy and advocacy interventions for women who have experienced intimate partner violence: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Medicine, 46(8), 567-586. doi:10.3109/07853890.2014.941918
  3. Hardesty, J. L., Crossman, K. A., Haselschwerdt, M. L., Raffaelll, M., Ogolsky, B. G., & Johnson, M. P. (2015). Toward a standard approach to operationalising coercive control and classifying violence types. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(4), 833-843. doi:10.1111/jomf.12201
  4. Patafio, B., et al. (2022). Coercive controlling behavioural and reporting physical intimate partner violence in Australian women: An exploration. 28(2), 375-394. Doi:10.1177/1077801220985932


AACBT members have free tickets, but MUST book to reserve their place.

Non-members can join now and gain all of the other advantages of AACBT Membership!

There are no early bird rates for this event and please note that there are no door sales possible.

Please contact info@aacbt.org.au for more information.



Images: supplied