FERMANAGH Women’s Aid (FWA) have issued a heart-wrenching appeal for more to be done to tackle domestic violence following the tragic death of Concepta Leonard on Monday.
Police believe Concepta was killed by her former partner Peadar Phair, who it is understood then took his own life, in her own home near Maguiresbridge. Her son Conor was also injured.
Reacting to the death, which has shocked the entire community, a spokesman for FWA expressed their condolences to Concepta’s family, and wished Conor a full and speedy recovery.
They said the music teacher’s death “highlights the nature of domestic violence.”
“It highlights that for hundreds and thousands of women home can be a dangerous place. The perpetrator knows you, and he knows where you live,” they continued. “He also knows how to hurt you.
“This case is tragic and horrific, it will shock and scare people. It will also confuse people, provoking questions about why he did it.”
Stating Concepta’s privacy and dignity must be preserved in the wake of her death, and that her son and family be protected, the FWA spokesman added “we must not ignore domestic violence or allow it to fall off our political, policy and funding agenda.”
“Concepta’s life matters,” they continued. “She was a smart, funny caring woman.”
They added: “The dreadful reality of domestic violence is still not talked about enough.
The spokesman said the “awful reality” was Concepta’s name would now go on a list of women killed by their partner or ex-partner, but urged people to remember: “She is not a statistic, she was a woman in our community, a friend. A victim of domestic violence.”
“Though we will react with shock in the days to come, we must endeavour to protect the women in our community who are suffering on a daily basis.
“As a society, we must ask what more can we do, all of us. How do we help our family and friends, our neighbours to stay safe. How do we stop more women being added to the list.”
Women who need support can contact the Women’s Aid 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414, Fermanagh Women’s Aid on 02866328898, or the PSNI on 999.
For more on this story see today’s Fermanagh Herald.