04 November 2021
Domestic Abuse Conference 2021 - Coercive Control in Northern Ireland
Over 120 delegates attended a unique online conference
this week focusing on the issue of Coercive Control in Northern Ireland.
The Domestic Abuse Conference 2021 was hosted by the
Law Society of Northern Ireland in conjunction with the Women’s Aid Federation,
PPS, PSNI and Danske Bank and was opened by Dame Brenda King DCB, Attorney
General for Northern Ireland.
issue of Coercive Control is by no means a new term in the area of Domestic
Abuse, however Coercive Control (which includes psychological abuse and
non-violent intimidation) is for the first time it has been recognised in
Northern Ireland within a legislative framework.
The first stage of the Domestic Abuse and
Family Proceedings Bill passed through on 18th January 2021 and received Royal
Assent in March (commencement date yet to be confirmed but is expected to be
some time after February 2022).
This bill recognises children and young people
and the impact that coercive and controlling behaviour has on them as
individuals through the Child Aggravator Clause which acknowledges that
children do not have to be present or witness the domestic violence for it to
have a detrimental impact on their wellbeing.
The multidisciplinary conference which was held
on Wednesday 3rd November 2021 provided an important opportunity to educate
professionals in the field of Coercive Control and the impact of Domestic Abuse
on Children and Young People.
The conference provided a platform to discuss the
Laganside Domestic Violence Court Pilot Scheme.
Those attending had the opportunity to hear
• victim impact and their journey
• the legislative framework surrounding prosecution
and changes to how PSNI investigate
• the remedies available to victims through the
• the new “Responsible Employer Awareness Training”
initiative applicable to all employers.