Agency believes new act could make Ireland world leader in safety for women and children

Ireland could become the safest country in the world for women and children.

Social change agency 'Safe Ireland' is examining Ireland's ground-breaking new Domestic Violence Act which recognises "coercive control" for the first time.

The agency is examining how this could change the future of families here.

Senator Ivana Bacik is speaking at a Safe Ireland seminar in Dublin today and she says it represents a coming of age of Ireland's understanding of domestic violence.

She said: "Among the new measures introduced by the act is this new sense of coercive control which we had been discussing for some time in the context of domestic violence, but which is really quite a new approach to prosecuting violent behaviour.

"The offence of coercive control relates to behaviour that is controlling or coercive, and has a serious effect on an individual, on a victim."

Senator Bacik says "coercive control" is now recognised as a crime for the first time.

She said: "We know from experiences and research that domestic violence goes beyond physical violence and can be controlling behaviour.

"For example, causing somebody to believe that they are going to be subject to violence or controlling their behaviour by restricting their freedom in ways, for example, by stopping them from going out of the house in the evenings or during the day.

"So there are all sorts of different ways in which coercive control can be operated."

- Digital Desk

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