Thursday 19 July 2018

Psychological abuse at home leaves deepest kind of scars

The Domestic Violence Bill is right to take into account the trauma of psychological abuse, writes Stella O'Malley

Control: Alan Hawe, who killed his wife Clodagh and their children, Liam (13) Niall (11) and Ryan (six) at their house near Ballyjamesduff, in Co Cavan, last year Photo: Hawes/Coll families/PA Wire
Control: Alan Hawe, who killed his wife Clodagh and their children, Liam (13) Niall (11) and Ryan (six) at their house near Ballyjamesduff, in Co Cavan, last year Photo: Hawes/Coll families/PA Wire

'I f that goes through we'll have social workers in the bed beside us making sure that we all play together nicely," snorted my husband as he read about the proposed amendments to the forthcoming Domestic Violence Bill 2017, which will make psychological abuse punishable by up to five years in jail.

But he's all wrong, and this bill is essential if we are to have any sort of proper understanding of what abuse actually is, because it's only when you come across a serious case of psychological abuse that you truly realise just how profoundly damaging it can be.

One lady I knew, let's call her Rose, used to ring me regularly, but she was never able to make an appointment to come and see me for counselling because she wasn't allowed out of the house.

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