For Oral Answer on : 05/07/2022
Question Number(s): 48 Question Reference(s): 35952/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Justice the status of the prosecutions for coercive control since the commencement of the Domestic Violence Act 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Coercive control is a form of psychological abuse that is arguably a defining feature of cases of domestic violence, with can affect a victim as much as physical violence.
It is an abuse of the unique trust associated with an intimate relationship.
Creating a specific offence of coercive control sent a clear, consistent message that non-violent control in an intimate relationship is criminal.
As we have seen in other cases where we have legislated for new offences, it can take some time for prosecutions and convictions to come through the system.
The prosecutions and convictions to date should send a clear message to anyone who may be a victim – this is a crime, you can come forward and seek help and you will be supported by An Garda Síochána. And for perpetrators of this crime – you cannot act with impunity.
It is hoped that as more convictions follow, other victims of coercive control will feel confident to come forward.
Members of An Garda Síochána undergo training to assist them in recognising the signs of coercive control and this will be instrumental in ensuring they can deal with victims in a timely and supportive manner.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that there have been 53 charges relating to offences where the offence type is ‘Coercive Control (Domestic Violence Act)’ or the offence wording indicates ‘Coercive Control’ since the commencement of the Domestic Violence Act 2018. (The information provided is taken from PULSE as of 30/06/2022; it is operational and may be liable to change).
In terms of records on prosecutions, they are a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is independent in the performance of her functions, and the Courts Service. Management of the courts is the responsibility of the judiciary and Courts Service, which are independent in exercising their functions under the Courts Service Act 1998 and through the separation of powers, as provided for in the Constitution.
The Courts Service has a dedicated email address for the provision of information to members of the Houses of the Oireachtas at: email@example.com.