Coercive Control Law

Coercive control is an ongoing pattern of controlling and threatening behaviour including all or some forms of domestic abuse by a partner or ex-partner.

What is Coercive Control?

Coercive Control is a criminal offence in Ireland.

Coercive Control is a persistent pattern of controlling, coercive and threatening behaviour including all or some forms of domestic abuse (emotional, physical, financial, sexual including threats) by a partner or ex-parter.

It traps victims in a relationship and makes it impossible or dangerous to leave.

What are the signs of coercive control?

Answering yes to any of the following questions may help you recognise signs of coercive control.

  • Do you feel like you are being isolated from your friends and family?
  • Does your partner deprive you of basic everyday needs like food, electricity or heating?
  • Do you think your partner is monitoring your online activity, or has installed spyware on your phone, laptop or any other device?
  • Does your partner take control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what to wear, when to be home and when you can sleep?
  • Does your partner stop you from accessing support services, such as specialist support or medical services?
  • Does your partner repeatedly put you down, for example, telling you that you’re worthless?
  • Does your partner enforce rules and activities that humiliate, degrade or dehumanise you?
  • Does your partner force you to take part in criminal activity such as shoplifting?
  • Is your partner in control of the finances and do they prevent you from working or having your own money?
  • Does your partner threaten to reveal or publish private information about you, like private photos or videos online?

What evidence do I need?

If you ever decide to seek protection from the Gardaí you will need to have a record of what has happened. This will provide proof  and help establish that it is a pattern of abuse. Examples include:

  • Copies of emails, phone records or text messages
  • Evidence of abuse over the internet, digital technology and social media platforms
  • Records of interaction with services such as support services or medical records
  • Witnesses: for example the family and friends of yours may be able to give evidence about the effect and impact of isolation from them
  • Bank records to show financial control
  • Notes of previous threats made to children or other family members
  • Your diary with dates and incidents and any statements that you have made to the gardaí

Learn more about coercive control and other forms of abuse