Domestic abuse on the rise in Limavady

MODEL  RELEASED.    Domestic violence.  Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from a blow from her partner by holding her arms in front of her face.
MODEL RELEASED. Domestic violence. Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from a blow from her partner by holding her arms in front of her face.

Domestic abuse against women is on the increase in Limavady and elsewhere in Northern Ireland, according to official police figures.

The situation was described as worrying by local MLA Claire Sugden, who said a zero-tolerance attitude must be adopted to all types of abuse.

Across Northern Ireland, PSNI figures show that there were hundreds more domestic abuse incidents recorded in the 2013/14 financial year than the previous year.

In Limavady, there were 152 domestic abuse crimes against adult women - 42 more than the previous year. There were and eight more domestic abuse crimes against females under 18.

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden, who highlighted the shocking statistics to this newspaper, said it is vital information and support is made as widespread and accessible as possible.

She said: “I am concerned at PSNI figures for 2014 which show increases of 335 domestic abuse incidents, and 1580 crimes, since 2013, in Northern Ireland.

“I am also concerned at the gender dynamic emerging from these figures. 62% of domestic abuse victims were female, as were 61% of the victims of violent abuse.

“These figures are worrying, particularly as positive outcomes from recorded offences are decreasing at a time when domestic abuse is so prevalent.

“We must adopt a zero-tolerance attitude to all types of abuse and encourage more people to report their experiences. My office can provide this secure space for those who wish to come forward.

“I have expressed my concerns to the Justice Minister and to The First and Deputy First Ministers, encouraging them to address this issue robustly, and to ensure that the Gender Equality Strategy for Government is addressing gender related violence effectively.

“We must be committed to addressing domestic violence within our societies, together. Information and support must be widespread and accessible in order to raise awareness and enable victims to deal with, and recover from, their experiences.”