Incidents of domestic abuse increase sharply at this time of year. Between Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year the PSNI received 245 domestic abuse calls. Between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day a further 275 incidents were recorded.
Year on year, there are around 30,000 recorded incidents of domestic abuse and on average a woman in an abusive relationship is murdered here every other month.
Yet Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK without a specific strategy to protect women and girls from violence. While several pieces of uncoordinated legislation have been introduced in recent years and initiatives such as ‘Ask for Angela’ ‘have been adopted, there is still no overall strategy to protect women and girls from violence.
Recent arrests operations of suspects wanted on bench warrants in connection with
domestic abuse and for breaches of protective orders, are not enough. The
system is failing women.
Legislation alone, vital as it is, will not be enough to overcome a culture which sees women and girls as objects and commodities and tolerates misogyny and prejudicial gender-based attitudes.
Nor will it be overcome for as long as we are subject to an economic and social system which has an intrinsic self interest in sustaining and perpetuating gender discrimination in its pursuit of profits, lower wages and working-class division.
Violence against women and girls takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, child, early and forced marriage, trafficking, and increasingly online through cyber bullying.
There is never a time of year when domestic abuse should ever be tolerated. If you or someone you know is suffering abuse or violence, help and support is available.
Follow the link for Contact Numbers, Help and Advice