‘Meghan is right. Working mothers do have to choose between being present or being paid
‘Meghan is right. Working mothers do have to choose between being present or being paid

Amanda Cassidy

What to try this weekend: Gluten-free vegan churros with a caramel dipping sauce
What to try this weekend: Gluten-free vegan churros with a caramel dipping sauce

Meg Walker

How to increase your confidence and why it’s crucial
How to increase your confidence and why it’s crucial

Niamh Ennis

The scariest thing about Halloween? Competitive parenting
The scariest thing about Halloween? Competitive parenting

Sophie White

Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon us and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon us and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Image / Editorial

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK


by Jennifer McShane
21st Jan 2019
Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK

Earlier in January, it was announced that an offence of psychological or emotional abuse is to be introduced as part of new “groundbreaking” domestic violence measures by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

The Domestic Violence Act will improve the protections available to victims of domestic violence under both the civil and criminal law.

Among other changes, new offence of coercive control – a pattern of intimidation or humiliation involving psychological or emotional abuse – will come into force.

This abuse in an intimate relationship can cause fear of violence or serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse impact on a person’s day-to-day life.

Safety orders will also be available to those who are in intimate relationships but who are not cohabiting and the requirement for a relationship to be “committed” to enable a person to apply for a domestic violence order has been removed.

Courts will also now be required to provide victims with information on domestic violence services, and victims will be allowed to bring a supportive friend or family member to legal proceedings. Additionally, any sexual offence or violent act within an intimate relationship will be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing procedures.

“As harmful as physical abuse”

The Justice and Equality Minister said emotional abuse can be “as harmful to victims as physical abuse.”

“For too long, domestic violence has been seen primarily as physical abuse…” Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, said in a statement when changes to the law were announced. “This new provision sends a message that society will no longer tolerate the appalling breach of trust committed by one partner against the other in an intimate context.”

And just today, similar legislation was announced in the UK.

New UK government legislation means that those who abuse their partners by controlling their access to money and through non-physical coercive behaviour, risk prosecution. Economic abuse includes preventing a partner from working or denying a partner access to his/her own bank account. The move is part of a plan to widen the statutory definition of domestic abuse in the UK.

Anxiety and depression

According to a recent study in England, women who experience domestic violence and abuse are under huge psychological stress. They are three times more likely to suffer from depression and four times more likely to suffer from anxiety than women in the general population.


If you have been affected by domestic abuse and would like to talk, contact the below numbers or visit SafeIreland.ie.

  • Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
  • Amen (for men): 046 902 3718

Also Read

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
EDITORIAL
‘Meghan is right. Working mothers do have to choose between being present or being paid

Not everyone was happy about the Duchess of Sussex getting involved in US politics. But her letter on behalf of...

By Amanda Cassidy

Definition of domestic abuse to change under new legislation in Ireland and UK
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE