Domestic abuse levels at record high in Northern Ireland

By Lenore Rice

The number of incidents of domestic abuse reported to the PSNI in 2018 was the highest since records began 15 years ago, and experts say there is still an issue with under-reporting.

Of the 31,298 reports made to the police approximately 16,000 involved the commission of a crime, with experts saying domestic violence in particular remains a significant issue in Northern Ireland. There are around 80 incidents of domestic abuse and violence every day and on average there are 6 murders a year committed through domestic violence. The figures released by the Department of Justice highlight that domestic abuse is a danger for both men and women in Northern Ireland, with approximately 30 per cent of victims being male.

A new 24 hour helpline began operation on 1st April 2019 for victims of domestic and sexual abuse and will be operated by Nexus NI. The helpline is a free and confidential service for anyone who is experiencing sexual or domestic abuse and the number to call is:

0808 8021414

The Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme in Northern Ireland has also been operation for over a year and already 326 applications have been made. The scheme allows anyone who has concerns about their partner to receive information on their history of abusive behaviour and any potential risk they pose. As a result of the applications made to date 40 people were identified as being at risk and were advised of their partner's abusive past.

Speaking about the scheme Detective Superintendent Ryan Henderson, from the PSNI's Public Protection Branch, said:

"This scheme shows that, as a society, we say there is no place for domestic abuse or no hiding place for domestic abusers.

"The scheme is different because it focuses on preventing people from becoming victims. Abusers can often move from relationship to relationship, leaving a trail of abuse which the scheme stops from remaining hidden."

To make an application under the scheme go to https://www.psni.police.uk/crime/domestic-abuse/dvads   .

Click here if you would like to speak to a family law solicitor specialising in domestic abuse about issues such as emergency and subsequent Court Orders including Non-molestation and Occupation Orders, Injunctions and Matrimonial Home rights to protect you and your children's interests.