Psychological and emotional abuse in intimate relationships is now a crime in Ireland.

The Domestic Violence Act 2018 went into effect on Tuesday and provides new protections for victims of “coercive control,” a type of emotional and psychological abuse aimed at stripping a person of their self-worth and agency.

Although psychological and emotional abuse, including controlling behavior, isolation, and threats of violence can be more difficult to recognize than physical violence, it can be just as damaging, experts say.

Ireland’s Minister of Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan said in a statement today that the new law “recognizes that the effect of non-violent control in an intimate relationship can be as harmful to victims as physical abuse because it is an abuse of the unique trust associated with an intimate relationship.”

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