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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C
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Domestic Abuse

State's first conviction for coercive control handed down in Donegal Circuit Court

Coercive control occurs when a current or ex-partner knowingly and persistently engaged in behaviour that is controlling or intimidating.

THE FIRST CONVICTION for coercive control in Ireland has been handed down at a circuit court in Donegal. 

Coercive control occurs when a current or ex-partner knowingly and persistently engaged in behaviour that is controlling or intimidating. It prompts a person to fear that violence could be used against them, or may be suffering distress that has an impact on their day-to-day activities. 

Yesterday, an individual was convicted and sentenced at Letterkenny Circuit Court under the Domestic Violence Act 2018. 

Speaking following the case, Detective Supt. Declan Daly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, described it as a “deeply dangerous and personal crime”. 

“Coercive control is an insidious and demeaning crime designed to degrade and debilitate an individual and their persona. It is a deeply dangerous and personal crime against the person, usually committed over a prolonged period,” he said. 

“This conviction and sentencing, the first of its kind in the state, further demonstrates An Garda Síochána’s dedication to fully investigate all matters related to this vital legislation in order to protect some of Ireland’s most vulnerable persons.”

Campaigners have long been advocating for greater resources and protections for victims of this type of behaviour. 

Victims can have their freedom of movement reduced and their lives controlled by their current or ex-partner, including access to their personal finances and the freedom to see family and friends. 

A statement from gardaí said: “Gardaí can provide support and information to victims of Coercive Control.

“If a victim wishes to make a formal complaint, we can investigate. To assist us in investigating Coercive Control and preparing a strong case, we will need to gather evidence such as a diary the victim has been keeping, text messages and emails that highlight the abuse, and accounts from family and friends.”

Anyone with any information relating to Coercive Control is asked to contact their local garda station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
Need help? Support is available: 

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

  • Aoibhneas: 01 867 0701
  • Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
  • Amen (for men): 046 902 3718

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