The NSW Government must not use a newly announced public inquiry to delay a change in NSW law to criminalise the dangerous behaviours underpinning many abusive relationships, Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said.
Ms Watson - who last month introduced Labor's bill which would make coercive control an offence - said she welcomed the government's announcement that it would set up a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee to examine the issue, and hoped she could secure a place on committee.
However, she also said she was concerned that this could delay the passing of the laws to help domestic violence victims.
"This week a woman is going to be killed at the hands of her partner, and next week, and the week after that," she said.
"How long do we just sit back and carefully consider this. We need to criminalise it now."
"There's no reason we can't put the exisiting bill through now, and then this would be a document that would be able to be subject to ongoing amendments, like any piece of legislation."
Announcing the public inquiry on Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Speakman said creating a new offence "may not be the best, or only, way to improve our response" to the issue of coercive control
Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse involving repeated patterns of abusive behaviour - which can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse - the cumulative effect of which is to rob victim-survivors of their autonomy and independence.
Mr Speakman said a detailed examination was needed, as criminalising this would be a "significant change to the way our justice system broadly operates".
"The horrific rate of domestic violence murders in Australia remains stubbornly consistent and coercive and controlling behaviour is a common precursor to intimate partner homicide," he said.
"Creating a coercive control offence would be a complex though potentially very worthwhile reform that could help prevent these homicides.
"Thorough research, consultation and careful consideration is crucial to avoid risks such as misidentifying victims as offenders or capturing behaviour that ought not to be criminalised."
"A new offence may not be the best, or only, way to improve our response to non-physical forms of domestic abuse."
The government has issued a Discussion Paper detailing the definition of coercive control, as well as how these behaviours are currently address in NSW and the potential benefits and practical challenges associated with criminalising coercive control.
The paper also looks at the experiences of other jurisdictions in responding to coercive control and other avenues for legal reform.
Mr Speakman encouraged all interested parties to review the Discussion Paper, should they wish to contribute to the Inquiry in the near future.