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Criticism of delays on new domestic abuse legislation in Northern Ireland

In 2017/18 the number of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland amounted to one every 17 minutes, a record high.

These statistics illustrate the need for the proposed new measures to help victims of domestic violence, which are currently in a legislative limbo due to the absence of a functioning assembly in Stormont.

It is reported that other “key initiatives” first suggested nine years ago, are also yet to be acted upon.

The delay has been slammed by campaigners as being completely unacceptable, and have called for decisions to finally be made in order to introduce formalised protection for victims of domestic abuse across Northern Ireland. One such recommendation from nearly a decade ago was to establish a properly funded Independent Domestic Violence Adviser Service (IDVA), which would be able to work effectively with victims across multiple jurisdictions, but has suffered repeated delays since its introduction.

Brendan McGuigan, the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice for Northern Ireland stated that “without a functioning assembly, or in its absence a response from Parliament, this important new legislation cannot be introduced and the frustrations of many victims remain unaddressed.”

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