Monday, July 20, 2009

District Policing Partnership highlights Violence in the Home

In my role of Chair of the District Policing Partnership, at our recent meeting, one of the speakers I welcomed was from the North Down and Ards Women's Aid.

This is a topic which I feel is not discussed or highlighted as it should be, I get the feeling that people are not comfortable with the subject. I would hope that I can help in some small way bring this to the attention of as many people as possible and seek help from those who can give some positive help.

The figures are astounding, domestic violence affects one in four women and one in six men across Northern Ireland in their lifetime. At present the PSNI responds to a domestic incident every 22 minutes across the Province.
In North Down, there were 862 reported incidents in 2007/8 and 709 in 2008/9. Remember these are reported incidents there are many more not reported.
There are three times as many domestic violence related crimes as drug offences and the same statistics were similar compared to car thefts.
This is a very serious problem within our community, domestic violence has no respect for socio economic groups, age or gender.
Behind these figures are incidents of real tragedy, homes broken up, women left to cope with children, with little or no money to manage. Domestic violence is a crime, and the PSNI along with organisations such as Women's Aid are a god send for many. However, this is not an issue to be politely discussed at a meeting and then forgotten about. I have written to Minister McGimpsey to seek assurance that domestic violence is given true recognition on just what this crime does within a family and how best suffering, physical, financial, and mental can be addressed - with urgency.