Women’s Aid NI Statement on Coercive Control Legislation

Women’s Aid across Northern Ireland welcomes the news that legislation to make coercive control an offence will be brought through our local Assembly. In 2018/19, the PSNI recorded 31,682 domestic abuse incidents and 16,182 domestic abuse crimes, the highest recorded levels since records began in 2004/05. We recognise and appreciate the Justice Minister’s commitment to tackling domestic abuse and bringing an often hidden problem out in the open.

Coercive control inflicts feelings of entrapment, isolation and degradation on victims and survivors, eroding their sense of autonomy and personhood. For too long Northern Ireland has been the only part of the UK and Ireland without legislation to criminalise this type of abuse. We are grateful that this will no longer be the case.

It is critical that victims and survivors in Northern Ireland have the same, robust legal protections as the rest of the United Kingdom. We look forward to seeing the full draft Bill and working alongside the Department to ensure that the protections contained within meet the specific needs of victims and survivors moving forward.