On the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Friday 25th November), Green Party Councillor Rachel Woods has re-iterated the need to deliver a Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy for Northern Ireland.

The Holywood and Clandeboye representative said, ‘We need a strategy to tackle gender-based violence. We have always needed one. It is shameful that there is no Executive in Northern Ireland to deliver one, despite the promises that were made. Violence against women and girls has been described as one of the most pervasive violations of human rights in the world and yet, one of the least prosecuted crimes.

Research from the Femicide Census show that on average, a woman is killed by a man every three days in the UK. Their report makes for grim reading. From 2009 to 2018: 1,425 women murdered; and almost half of the men who killed women during this ten-year period were known to have a history of violence against women. 70% of killings took place either in the shared home of the victim and perpetrator or the victim's home.

The sad reality is that violence and abuse against women and girls is endemic across the world and responses to it are woefully inadequate, both legally, institutionally and societally.

We need a Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and we are still the only part of the UK without one.
The Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Sexual Offences legislation passed last mandate will go some way, but we have much to do to eradicate this from our society, including introducing mandatory, comprehensive, age appropriate relationship and sexuality education.’