Tuesday 31 March 2020
Rachel Woods MLA has said that any delay in the introduction of formalised protections for victims of domestic abuse and stalking may contribute to loss of life.
Rachel Woods, member of the Justice Committee, was speaking as the new Domestic Abuse Bill was brought before the NI Assembly today.
Rachel Woods MLA said: “This Bill has been brought to the Assembly three years after then Justice Minister Claire Sugden began the legislative process.
“The reality is that delays in formalised protections for victims of domestic abuse have contributed to loss of life and missed opportunities to bring perpetrators before the courts.
“Northern Ireland once again has been a place apart with specific domestic violence legislation operational in neighbouring jurisdictions but not here.
“Covid-19 heightens the risks around domestic abuse and the support sector has highlighted the danger of people living in isolation with an abuser.
“These are not normal times and ordinarily the Justice Committee would have had an opportunity to scrutinise this draft legislation before it was laid. Again this represents another missed opportunity, but I look forward to future briefings on this matter."
“The most important message is to ask anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help. The DSA Helpline is free, confidential and available to men and women 24/7 on 0808 802 1414.”
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498