Call For Action As Domestic Abuse Rates Soar

Northern Ireland saw its highest ever number of domestic abuse crimes recorded last year, it has emerged.

Politicians are calling for change in the wake of the 10% increase in cases recorded compared with the previous 12 month period.

Some 16,575 cases were recorded by the PSNI between July 2018 and June 2019, the highest number since records began in 2004/05.

This abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, emotional or even financial in nature.

While the reporting of incidents has increased, the issue remains largely undetected.

Sinn Féin's Linda Dillon is appealing to victims to continue to speak out and report it.

The Mid-Ulster MLA said: "More must be done to combat the rate of domestic violence crimes.

"Domestic abuse is a terrifying and impactful crime and can take many forms, including financial and psychological abuse as well as physical and sexual violence.
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"It is vitally important that anyone suffering from abuse whether physical or emotional knows that there are organisations, including the PSNI, Women's Aid and Mens Aid who are just a phone call away and ready to help. No one should suffer in silence."

Meanwhile, the SDLP's Dolores Kelly said the latest figures demand a response from local politicians and compel the region's two largest parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein, to facilitate a return to Stormont and deliver tougher laws.

Ms Kelly said: "Domestic abuse is an insidious crime that leaves vulnerable men and women subject to physical, emotional and psychological attack. If it isn't physical violence, it's an unending wave of emotional abuse and coercive behaviour that wears victims down and leaves them feeling trapped in a relationship or a home.

"The truth of the matter is that we need to do more to tackle this evil crime and deal with those responsible. Police need stronger powers, we need to be able to house victims quickly and those working with the victims of abuse need more resources.

"All of this has been held up by the failure of the DUP and Sinn Féin to restore power sharing government. Their party political disagreements are not more important than victims. It's time to get our priorities right."


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