The Department of Justice and Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety have jointly launched a consultation on the draft strategy, Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland. This will be the government’s strategy for tackling domestic & sexual violence and abuse for the next 7 years, until 2020.

In the foreword by Minister for Health Edwin Poots and Minister for Justice David Ford, they state:

Women, girls, men and boys have a right to be safe from domestic and sexual violence and abuse in Northern Ireland. It is unacceptable that for many, it remains a hidden crime. We know that reporting figures do not reflect the full picture as, all too often, violence and abuse remains unreported, hidden behind closed doors with the victim suffering in silence.

They go on to say:

It is a shocking reality that in 2011/12 nearly one in five murders in Northern Ireland was a direct result of Domestic Violence and Abuse and figures indicate there are, on average, five sexual offences being committed every day in Northern Ireland. It affects every aspect of victims’ lives and all too often leaves long term consequences for children and adults.

The consultation period runs until 11th April 2014. To access the consultation and for details of how to respond, just follow the link: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/dsva-strategy.pdf