'It has a devastating impact': Women's Aid welcome first conviction for coercive control

'It has a devastating impact': Women's Aid welcome first conviction for coercive control
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Women's Aid has welcomed the first conviction in Ireland for the crime of coercive control in Donegal.

The accused man, who pleaded guilty, made nearly 6,000 phone calls to his partner between March and June 2019.

He made her bring her phone everywhere so he knew where she was.

He has been jailed for 21 months.

Sarah Benson, from Women's Aid, says it is an important test case for the legislation.

"One of the challenges for this as a new crime through the courts is that is not just one single incident which is what our criminal justice system is very much geared towards prosecution of - one criminal act of assault or of criminal damage.

"Coercive control is far more insidious and it's a pattern of behaviour which all together form the crime of coercive control."

Ms Benson explained that coercive control is designed specifically to wear down, to degrade or to debilitate the other person.

"It's usually done over a prolonged period of time. It is very personal.

"It also has a devastating impact and is really dangerous so that is where the problem comes in terms of establishing it as an actual offence."

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