Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD, has welcomed the new law on domestic violence which has come into effect and has called on the Minister for Justice to provide greater resources for women’s refuges across the country.

Deputy Browne said, “The new offence relating to coercive control is extremely welcome. We know from victims of domestic abuse that coercive and controlling behaviour is often a key component of the abuse they are subjected to. We also know that domestic abuse of any type can have an enormous effect on a victim’s mental health.

“It is well accepted that abuse is often the key factor in the development of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, eating disorders and substance abuse and may lead to self-harm and suicide. Those diagnosed with a mental health disorder will be in a particularly vulnerable position, and are likely to find it more difficult to report domestic violence.

“It is encouraging that the necessary reform recognising coercion as being as harmful as physical abuse is now happening. However, I want to see more being done to help those who are suffering this type of abuse to recover from consequent mental scarring.

“The government can begin to do this by increasing funding for domestic violence refuges.  We have only one-third of the refuge spaces recommended by the Council of Europe and there are counties without one single refuge. The new legislation needs to be complimented with additional resources for refuges and mental health recovery supports”, concluded Deputy Browne.