Today I welcomed the new law on domestic violence which comes into effect today and has called on the Minister for Justice to provide greater resources for women’s refuges across the country.
The new offence relating to coercive control is extremely welcome. We know from victims of domestic abuse, that coercive and controlling behaviour is often a key component of the abuse they are subjected to. This type of abuse leaves no marks or scars but can cause victims to lose their freedom and experience fear on a daily basis.
I am glad that this is now regarded as an offence in and of itself and that it is recognised as being as harmful as physical abuse. However, I believe more must be done to help those who are suffering this type of abuse. Statistics have shown that Irish women are amongst the least likely in Europe to report crimes of domestic violence.
This underreporting is a major issue and those who do come forward, face obstacles such as having nowhere to go, no financial independence and having to navigate the courts system to get help. We have only one-third of the refuge spaces recommended by the Council of Europe and there are counties without one single refuge. The new legislation needs to be complimented with additional external resources.
Teach Tearmainn in Kildare do fantastic work to support women and children experiencing abuse.
Details for Teach Tearmainn: 045 527584
MEND launched their programme to assist men to end domestic abuse.
Details fro MEND: 051878866