Should the Domestic Violence Act be extended? | Hudson McKenzie

Should the Domestic Violence Act be extended?

January 17, 2019 | Latest Thinking, News, Private Clients

The Domestic Violence Act 2018 came into effect in the Republic of Ireland a year ago, but should it extend to Northern Ireland also?

On 1st January 2018, the Republic of Ireland enacted the Domestic Violence Act as law, which henceforth meant that any individual who was a victim of “coercive control” or “psychological abuse” can then take the offender to court and have them charged for these acts as a criminal defense.

However, since its enactment, outrage has been sparked across neighboring Northern Ireland, who has yet to have the Domestic Violence Act extended to their legislation. By not enacting this new law, citizens of Northern Ireland are claiming that their current law on Domestic Violence is ‘outdated’ and therefore should have this new act extended to their own legislation as soon as possible.

One of the notable outdated notions that are yet to be recognised within the Northern Ireland legislation is that domestic abuse doesn’t necessarily have to be physical. For instance, domestic abuse can also come via technology, such as the internet, or ‘financial abuse’ where the offender takes complete control over the victims financial life, usually leaving them with nothing.

In further support, a recent EU report also determined the current Domestic Violence law in Northern Ireland as ‘outdated’, especially as the most recent enacted of the Domestic Violence Act is aimed at tackling all forms of domestic violence, beyond the physical.

However, at present, the law in Northern Ireland is likely to remain ‘outdated’, as the law can only be passed once an assembly returns to the Norther Ireland Government, in which such ‘return’ is set to be unpredictable.

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