The Domestic Violence Act 2018 is landmark legislation which significantly enhanced the legal protections available to victims of this appalling form of violence. I was pleased to commence all the provisions of the Act, including the provision which created a new offence of coercive control, on 1 January last. This offence recognises the psychological abuse aspect of domestic violence.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on, managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including arranging for the training of its members and Garda staff and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. There can be no doubt, however, about the Commissioner's commitment to tackling this deplorable crime.
It is clearly very important that gardaí understand the legislation in order to intervene effectively and training is crucial in this regard. I am advised by Garda management that a number of training initiative measures have already been taken and further measures are planned to ensure that members of An Garda Síochána have a solid understanding of the new legislation, including the new offence of coercive control.
I am informed that the measures taken to date include the following. Training has been provided at Templemore Garda College to members of the divisional protective services unit and inspectors nationwide with the domestic abuse portfolio by an international expert from the UK, in relation to domestic homicides and their link to coercive control. The UK was one of the first countries to introduce the offence of coercive control. This was part of a three day domestic abuse modular training programme that took place in the Garda College in February of this year. Train-the-trainer training for members of An Garda Síochána in the area of coercive control, developed in conjunction with the Garda National Protected Services Bureau, will aid in the creation and delivery of organisation-wide training. Domestic abuse response, including the Domestic Violence Act 2018, is included in the continuous professional development training programmes for this year in An Garda Síochána. There are training lectures for probationer gardaí at the Garda College in Templemore.