Coercive control, legislative reform and the Istanbul Convention: Ireland’s Domestic Violence Act 2018
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coercive control, Istanbul Convention, violence against women, human rights law
Coercive control is a concept increasingly being used in legal and policy responses to intimate partner violence. This article examines this concept in light of Ireland’s obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) to prevent and combat domestic violence, including psychological violence (arts 3 and 33). First, it analyses the interpretation of article 33 by the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) in country monitoring reports. Second, it examines Ireland’s coercive control offence, comparing it to legislative developments in the United Kingdom (UK). Third, it examines potential theoretical and practical concerns arising from the application of the offence, drawing from literature on the criminalisation of coercive control in the UK. It argues that concerns regarding the practical application of the offence may be relevant to Ireland.