Friday 28 August 2020
Green Party MLA and Justice Committee Member Rachel Woods has said that she is saddened but not surprised that domestic violence in Northern Ireland is at an all time high.
Rachel Woods said: “Domestic abuse is ever present but evidence has shown that the lockdown period has heightened the risks for anyone suffering because of an abusive partner or family member.
“Lockdown or the pandemic are not the cause of violence or abuse - it is clear that the responsibility lies with those who offend.
“The ability of the criminal justice system to deal with domestic abuse is hampered in Northern Ireland because we don’t have specific legislation to deal with it yet.
“Executive parties have wasted time and opportunities since the previous Justice Minster Claire Sugden MLA began work on the Domestic Abuse Bill. For now, the legislative process is under way and the Justice Committee is scrutinising the Bill at present.
"However helpful, legislation is not the cure all for the scourge of domestic abuse - it must be fully resourced, with comprehensive training and involve joint working from all Departments.
“As a society, we must also re-evaluate what constitutes a healthy relationship and identify behaviours that are not ok. Part of this will involve schools delivering a comprehensive and mandatory programme of Relationship and Sexuality Education as part of the curriculum."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498