Monday 18 January 2021
Rachel Woods MLA has described domestic abuse legislation as arguably one of the most important pieces of legislation that the Northern Ireland Assembly will ever enact or has ever enacted.
The comments from Rachel, who sits on the Justice Committee, come as the Domestic Abuse Bill receives its final reading in the Assembly chamber today (Monday 18 January).
Rachel Woods MLA said: "The Domestic Abuse Bill is arguably one of the most important pieces of legislation that the Northern Ireland Assembly will ever enact or has ever enacted.
"Domestic abuse has a devastating and long-lasting impact on victims and survivors. The effects can be physical, emotional, financial and psychological. Domestic abuse devastates women, men and children, family members, neighbours and parents. There is no facet of society that isn't impacted by the insidious and long-lasting effects of domestic abuse and coercive control.
"That's why I, as a Justice Committee member, have worked so hard to ensure that this legislation is the most effective it can possibly be and I have had victims and survivors at the forefront of my mind throughout the legislative process.
"Victims and survivors have been let down by the system for far too long and this legislation should have been in place long before now.
"However, we finally are in a position where the process started by former Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA can finally be delivered upon and Northern Ireland is within reach of creating the specific offences for domestic abuse and coercive control that other devolved regions have in place. I wish to thank all those victims and survivors who reached out to tell their stories and the support organisations for their fantastic work.
"Today, my thoughts are with those people who have lost their lives and been impacted by domestic abuse. The clocks cannot be turned back for anyone and this legislation is no silver bullet. We have much to do but I hope we can move forward to create a society in which domestic abuse is recognised as the vile behaviour it is and where our criminal justice system and all other partners are enabled to tackle it by every possible means."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498