AS most other types of crime continue to decline, worrying figures released by the PSNI last week show incidents of domestic violence locally have risen sharply over the past year.
In the wake of the tragic death of Connie Leonard, statistics showing domestic violence incidents in the Fermanagh and Omagh policing district have risen by almost 200 in the past year are especially concerning.
In 2016/17 there were 1,691 domestic violence incidents in the local area, up 198 from 2015/16. In addition, there were 766 domestic abuse crimes, up on 685 the previous year.
Kerri Flood from Fermanagh Women’s Aid (FWA) said the rise in incidents reported to police corresponded to a rise in those accessing their services and support.
“It does tally very much with what we’re seeing,” said Ms Flood, who said while women were now more likely to report incidents, due to a greater awareness of the support services, research also showed domestic violence itself is on the rise. Ms Flood said there was another worrying trend in the PSNI figures – the number of incidents and crimes are up, the number of outcome rates is down by more than four percent.
“We do know a number of women do withdraw statements and they don’t want to follow the process through,” she said, adding FWA had a close working relationship with the police.
“We would be respectfully saying to the courts that it’s not the victim’s responsibility. Part of that may improve with the body cams for the PSNI, so we’ll have independent evidence other than the victim.”
Ms Flood explained that the collapse of Stormont meant legislation they had been lobbying form regarding coercive control, and which was being progressed by then Justice Minister Claire Sugden, could not currently be passed.
She added collapse of the Executive meant FWA funding had been reduced, with the group having to plug the financial shortfall themselves through fundraising.
Urging the public to keep the issue on politicians’ agendas, Ms Flood made an appeal to anyone in the community who would like to volunteer with fundraising for FWA to contact her on email@example.com.
If you would like to donate to FWA you can text “LINK03” to 70070, or visit www.fermanaghwomensaid.com.
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Posted: 2:09 pm May 27, 2017