1st Edition

Criminalising Coercive Control Challenges for the Implementation of Northern Ireland’s Domestic Abuse Offence

Edited By Vanessa Bettinson, Ronagh McQuigg Copyright 2024

    Drawing on experiences from other jurisdictions within the UK, Criminalising Coercive Control explores the challenges and potential successes which may be faced in implementing Northern Ireland’s new domestic abuse offence.

    A specific offence of domestic abuse was introduced in Northern Ireland in March 2021. This represents a crucial development in Northern Ireland’s response to domestic abuse. The new legislation has the effect of criminalising coercive and controlling behaviour, thereby bringing Northern Ireland into line with other jurisdictions within the UK, and also with relevant human rights standards in this regard. The book begins with a discussion regarding the offence itself and the underpinning domestic abuse policy in Northern Ireland. Subsequent chapters explore further measures which may be needed to respond effectively to domestic abuse in Northern Ireland, by drawing upon the experiences of other jurisdictions of criminalising coercive control. These reflections are considered through the lenses of policing, prosecutorial practice and frontline domestic abuse working.

    Criminalising Coercive Control will be of great interest to students and scholars in a variety of fields, such as criminal law, criminology, social policy, human rights, family law, gender studies and sociology. The book is also accessible beyond academia, including practitioners and those in the voluntary sector who are working in the area of combating domestic abuse.

    1.      Introduction

    Vanessa Bettinson and Ronagh McQuigg


    2.      Introducing a Criminal Offence of Domestic Abuse in Northern Ireland: Comparative Insights into Criminalising Coercive Control

    Vanessa Bettinson and Ronagh McQuigg


    3.      Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control: Lessons Learned from England and Wales 

    Charlotte Barlow


    4.      The Justice Challenge for Policing Northern Ireland: Training Police Officers in the Law of Control

    Rob Ewin


    5.      Prosecuting Domestic Abuse in Northern Ireland: The Challenges of the Trial Process

    Jeremy Robson


    6.      What Might ‘Successful’ Coercive Control Prosecutions Look Like?

    Antonia Porter


    7.      Taking Learnings from Other Jurisdictions on Supporting Victims and Survivors of Coercive Control

    Sonya McMullan


    Vanessa Bettinson is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She researches coercive control in criminal law and is particularly interested in the creation and implementation of coercive control offences and embedding coercive control understandings within defence frameworks.

    Ronagh McQuigg is a reader in the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, UK. She holds an LLB with First Class Honours, an LLM with Distinction and a PhD, and she is a qualified solicitor. Her research interests focus in particular on domestic abuse, and she teaches in the areas of family law and property law.