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More than third of people would not know

MORE than a third of people would not know what to do if they witnessed coercive control, a report reveals.

The findings are contained in research commissioned by Safeguarding Ireland and carried out by RED C on a representative sample of 1,000 Irish adults.

Safeguarding Ireland Chairperson Patricia Rickard-Clarke

Some 41 percent said they wouldn’t know how to act if they saw this form of abuse, with 39 percent admitting they wouldn’t know who to contact.

The RED C research also found almost a quarter of the coercive control cases that people said they witnessed occurred outside of ‘intimate couple relationships’ which are not legislated for — such as between frail older people and family members, or in the care of people with intellectual or physical disabilities, either at home or in an institution.

The study also found a low level of awareness of this form of abuse, as 25 percent said they were not familiar with coercive control, while 15 percent said they had heard the term but did not understand it.

When respondents were provided with an explanation of the abuse, 30 percent then said they had witnessed it happening to someone they knew, and 13 percent said they had experienced it themselves.

Safeguarding Ireland Chairperson Patricia Rickard-Clarke said: “I suspect that, if understanding of coercive control were higher, people would identify an even higher incidence of it occurring.”