Northern Ireland

Claire Sugden: Laws against coercive control to be introduced in NI

Claire Sugden
Image caption Claire Sugden said the process for enacting the laws had begun

Legislation to tackle psychological and emotional abuse will be in place within the next year, the justice minister has said.

Claire Sugden told BBC's The View that she is committed to bringing laws against coercive control to Northern Ireland.

Laws are already in place in England and Wales.

"We've already began the process in terms of legislating for this," she said.

Laws against coercive control target domestic abusers who subject spouses, partners and family members to psychological and emotional torment.

There have been calls for the laws to be introduced in Northern Ireland, including by a domestic abuse victim who said "lives are in danger" if the legislation is not enacted.

Incidents of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland have reached a 10-year high with the PSNI now responding to 78 reports of abuse in the home every day.

That is one report every 18 minutes.

Ms Sugden also told The View that she was looking at all laws on domestic abuse.

"I do think that if we can go someway to addressing domestic violence, we will address a lot of the problems we will find within our society," she said.

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