Wednesday 21 April 2021
Green Party NI MLA Rachel Woods has called for urgent and purposeful action from the Justice Minister, the Department of Justice and criminal justice organisations on the slow rate of implementation of Criminal Justice Inspectorate NI (CJINI) recommendations on domestic violence and abuse.
Nearly two years after the original inspection was published, the "No Excuse" domestic violence and abuse inspection follow-up review found that only one recommendation was achieved, four partially achieved and two not achieved.
Rachel Woods, the North Down MLA, a member of the Justice Committee, said:
"The lack of implementation of recommendations is coupled with a huge upturn in domestic violence and abuse incidents.
"Between March 2020 and February this year, the PSNI received an average of 583 calls a week relating to domestic abuse.
"It's just not good enough for CJINI recommendations to go unimplemented or partly progressed.
"The lives of people living through abuse and violence are often balanced on a knife edge and the failure to implement recommendation may indeed cost lives.
"The Justice Minister must co-ordinate an urgent and purposeful response from the Justice Department and criminal justice organisations to expediate the implementation of these recommendations.
"I previously called for the creation of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to improve the protection and provision of support to people affected by domestic abuse as well as provide public leadership on domestic abuse issues,
"Victims and survivors of domestic abuse are being failed time and again. The Domestic Abuse Act coming into law is a positive development, but it will not be a cure all.
"I believe that a Domestic Abuse Commissioner could bring some much-needed oversight and leadership into effect, as well as the implementation of a Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy by the Executive.
"I intend to bring the findings of this CJINI report as a matter to the Justice Committee as soon as possible."