A public rally against Coercive Control, which is now a criminal office in Ireland since 1 January 2019, was held on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire last weekend.
Coercive Control is psychological abuse that can include; isolating someone from their friends and family, controlling who they speak to or where they go, monitoring their phones or emails, humiliating them or making degrading comments about them, intimidating them or making threats to harm them personally, children or pets, controlling access to money, or dictating what they wear.
The ‘Say No to Coercive Control’ rally aimed to spread the word that coercive control is now a criminal offence.
Speakers at the rally included Founder of Coercive Control Ireland, Kathrina Bentley, Frances Fitzgerald MEP, representatives from victims groups, local Councillors and members of An Garda Síochána.
Kathrina Bentley of Coercive Control Ireland: said: “Research shows the epidemic level of coercive control that is being experienced in our communities. We are working together to bring awareness, in order to help and support victims, starting locally here in my homes town of Dún Laoghaire.”
Speaking after the rally on Sunday, Councillor Jennifer Carroll MacNeill told Dublin Gazette that while she was out canvassing, she was struck by how many people didn’t know that coercive control was a crime.
“I spent weeks going door to door to professionals in Dun Laoghaire, doctors, pharmacists, solicitors, banks, community centres and others – places where clients or patients might allude to some kind of abuse in their lives – to give them the details of the offence, and to highlight and remind them that this behaviour was now criminal.
“I was struck by how many people knew exactly about the kind of abuse I was describing, but didn’t necessarily know it was a crime.
“So, I hope our campaign had some impact and if it provides support or validation to even one victim, then we will have made an impact.”
Ireland is only the third jurisdiction in the world to introduce this as a criminal offence.
If you were affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900. You can also visit www.safeireland.ie