The Workers Party has made a formal submission to the Department of Justice’s consultation on a strategy to address Domestic and Sexual Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls.
During 2020-2021, police responded to 31,196 domestic abuse incidents in Northern
Ireland. There were also 3,335 sexual offences and yet much of the extent and
impact of domestic and sexual abuse remains hidden.
The Party’s submission highlighted the fact that, as we enter the sixth year of the current seven year strategy, very little progress has been achieved since 2016.
While recognising that domestic and sexual abuse knows no boundaries factors such as class, cultural, ethnicity and sexual orientation increased the vulnerability of women and girls.
Financial abuse was rightly identified in the Department’s consultation document as a form of coercive behaviour but the Party’s submission took this further, going on to identify policies which condemn women and girls to exist on inadequate benefits, low pay and inferior terms and conditions of service as equally culpable. Zero-hour contracts and precarious employment can also be a form of violence and abuse.
The submission also called for adequate and ring fenced funding to ensure implimentation of the strartegy and for the Assembly to be the statutory provider for safe housing and hostel accommdation.