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10-year sentence following coercive control trial 'sends a strong message' to other women

The woman, who is the man’s former partner, said she “might be dead or in a vegetative state” if doctors and gardaí had not intervened.

Image: Shutterstock/Yupa Watchanakit

A DOMESTIC ABUSE charity has said that a substantial sentence given to a man convicted of the coercive control of his former partner “acknowledged the severity of the crime and its life-denying impact on victims”.

Earlier today at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Daniel Kane (52) was sentenced to ten-and-a-half years in prison for the coercive control of his former partner.

This is the State’s first coercive control conviction following a trial.

During a 20-month relationship, Kane was found guilty of repeatedly attacking the woman, including burning her foot, cutting her with a pizza slicer, headbutting her in the face while she was recovering from nasal surgery and stamping on her arm causing her multiple fractures.

On another occasion he stamped on her head and strangled her, leaving finger marks along her throat. After being charged with these attacks Kane threatened to send explicit images of the victim to her family if she did not withdraw the charges.

In her victim impact statement the woman told the court she “might be dead or in a vegetative state” if doctors and gardaí had not intervened to get her away from Kane.

The CEO of Safe Ireland Mary McDermott said that the deep drivers of these behaviours rest on “toxic gender expectations and entitlements”, shown in this case by the fact that the perpetrator “showed no remorse or sense of profound wrong-doing”. 

“This sentence is a shot across the bow to all abusers,” she said.

It tells them very clearly that they can no longer control, stalk, assault, isolate or degrade a woman with impunity. What was once secret and privatised, is now public.

In cases of domestic abuse, perpetrators often seek to keep things private and secret in order to continue the abuse.

“In Ireland, the coercion and assault of any human being is a crime. Living in a ‘lockdown time’ we are gaining ever greater understandings of these household traumas and imprisonment.

“We believe it sends a strong message to women who are experiencing abuse and control, to those around them, and to their communities, to speak openly.

You do not have to live in an oppressive household. We are learning to name these situations accurately. You will be supported and believed. Our judicial system recognises this crime as an extremely serious threat to the life and well-being of women.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid also gave her reaction to today’s sentence. 

“Coercive control is an insidious and harmful form of abuse.

Imagine if you had to explain every minute of your day spent outside the house. Explain what you are wearing and defend your decision making. If your phone bill was checked, and you had to account for every call. If you had to ask your partner for money to buy for food for your children. If you were afraid of your partner’s violent outbursts. If money for tampons was called an ‘extra’. If friends and family were made to feel so unwelcome they stopped calling by.

Both Benson and McDermott commended the woman for her courage in pursuing this case, despite coercion to drop charges.

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Benson said: “We thank the woman at the centre of the case for her resolve throughout this process and wish her only happiness in life. Her actions, in the face of unimaginable intimidation and terror, will act as an example to other women currently trapped with abusive partners.”

McDermott also commended An Garda Síochána for their investigative work in ensuring “robust” evidence so that this case could be brought forward by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The woman at the centre of today’s court case encouraged other victims of domestic violence to seek help from services such as Women’s Aid and said they would be heard.

If you need help, support is available: 

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

With reporting from Brion Hoban.

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