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Zero Tolerance- Domestic Abusers Could Face 10 Years In Jail Under New €360M Strategy

Stock image: Pexels

The policy includes a promise to double the number of refuge places to more than 280.

The Cabinet will be asked to agree a new zero tolerance strategy for domestic, sexual and gender based violence today.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee will publish details later of the new Zero Tolerance strategy, which will have a €363 million budget over five years.

It will have four pillars - Protection, Prevention, Prosecution and Policy Co-ordination.

The policy includes a promise to double the number of refuge places from 141 to more than 280 - and the establishment of a new agency and guidelines around refuges

Changes to laws too including a doubling of the maximum sentence for assault causing harm from 5 to 10 years.

There will also be more training across frontline services including training for healthcare staff to identify signs of domestic abuse.

The plan includes the establishment of a statutory agency for domestic, sexual and gender based violence by January 1 2024.

It will co-ordinate the efforts and annual action plans must be delivered with progress reports every six months.

Only six people have been convicted of coercive control since it became a crime three and a half years ago.

The form of psychological abuse became an offence in January 2019, as part of efforts to clamp down on domestic abuse.

It involves 'controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour'.

The DPP has decided to prosecute 42 people for the offence in the past three and a half years.

That includes two in 2019, five in 2020, 22 in 2021, and 13 so far this year.

A total of six people have been convicted.

The DPP says the conviction figure for cases over the past three and a half years may increase over time, as many of them may not have been heard in court yet.

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