Northern Ireland has no specific strategy to bring an end to violence against women and girls. The Workers’ Party fully support the call by Women’s Aid and urge the Assembly to begin work on this without further delay.

Gemma Weir, Workers’ Party North Belfast said:
“The continued absence of a strategy to address the issue of violence against women and girls in the north is an incredibly serious one and must be addressed immediately.

“The frightening statistic that the PSNI attended a domestic abuse incident every 17 seconds in the year 2019/20, and the fact we know these numbers will have increased significantly during the pandemic and various lockdowns means there is a real need for the Assembly to step up and put some meaningful emphasis on the protection of women and girls by committing to the development and implementation of a strategy without delay”.

She continued:
“The Workers’ Party fully support the call from Women’s Aid, however in addition to this, there must be an increased investment into online services, and the recommendations made by UN women that all governments must allocate additional resources to address violence against women as part of its response to the pandemic. The capacity of shelters must be expanded, helplines and online counselling must also be strengthened.”

She concluded:
“Fundamentally the problem of domestic abuse, its causes and consequences, must be tackled as a complete issue. It is no longer acceptable for token gestures of support for victims and support services to be granted by the government. The Assembly must make a commitment to support organisations for victims and provide the necessary strategy, funding, training, and services necessary to support victims of domestic abuse.”