AQO 647/16-21

Dr Caoimhe Archibald
Sinn Féin
East Londonderry

Tabled Date: 27/10/2016
Answered On Date: 15/11/2016
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of Justice to outline her Department’s timeframe for legislating on coercive control.

My Department has consulted on the potential introduction of a Domestic Abuse offence. My officials attended the Justice Committee on 27 October to present the consultation Summary of Responses report. The report has also been published on the Department of Justice website.
I have previously made clear my intention to introduce a specific Domestic Abuse Offence in Northern Ireland given the widespread support demonstrated through the consultation process. My Officials are now working with key stakeholders to develop the shape of the offence for Northern Ireland. This work will also be informed by benchmarking with other jurisdictions.
I hope to introduce the offence early in the New Year and I recognise that this is a challenging target.
Naturally this will require the support of Assembly and Executive colleagues in taking this process forward.
However, I want to be clear that whilst it is important to legislate as quickly as possible we need to ensure that the new offence is both comprehensive and practical. I know that members of the Justice Committee share this view.