If it happened after January 1st 2019, coercive control is a criminal offence in Ireland.

Section 39 of the new Domestic Violence Act 2018 sets out that:

(1) A person commits an offence where he or she knowingly and persistently engages in behaviour that

(a) is controlling or coercive

(b) has a serious effect on a relevant person,


(c) a reasonable person would consider likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person.

The legislation explains that behaviour has “a serious effect” if the “relevant person” – that is an intimate partner – fears that violence will be used against them or if it causes serious alarm or distress that has a “substantial adverse impact on usual day to day activities”.

This new law makes coercive control more serious precisely because it relates to tactics used by an intimate partner – a spouse, non-spouse or civil partner – now or in the past.

You do not have to be in a sexual relationship for a partner to be an intimate partner.

For more information on what coercive control is click here

Download our Quick Guide to the Criminal Offence of Coercive Control’

If you would like copies of our Quick Reference Guide for yourself or to share in your workplace, community, neighbourhood or for a friend or family member we can post some out to you. Please email info@safeireland.ie or phone 0906 479078.