Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

60 cases of domestic abuse reported daily

Over 60 reports of domestic abuse are received every day by police in Northern Ireland.

Officers are called out to alleged incidents on average once every 23 minutes in the region, the PSNI today revealed.

The cost of picking up the pieces of domestic abuse, in terms of policing and other support agencies, is estimated at £180m a year.

The figures were contained in a new report on the issue by the Policing Board.

While incidences have dropped slightly on last year (by 3.3%) there are still more than 23,000 |reports of violence against partners or family members annually.

There are more recorded crimes with a domestic motivation than the combined total of sexual |offences, robbery, armed robbery, hijacking, vehicle theft, arson, dangerous driving, handling stolen goods and offences under anti-terror legislation.

Of 25 murders recorded last year in Northern Ireland, almost half (11) had a domestic motivation.

And the scale of the problem is thought to be even bigger, with a lot of violence in the home going unreported by those too scared to go to the police in fear of what their abuser might do to them.

The report, which was compiled by the board’s human rights committee, noted the efforts of the police to tackle the problem. It made a series of recommendations including the need for more specialist abuser officers within the service.

It also calls on the government to do more, highlighting the need for greater financial investment in support groups and the introduction of specialist domestic violence courts.

The report said that while the great majority of victims were women, many men suffered from abuse as well.

It stressed the need to convey the message that men should not feel ashamed to report such crimes against them.

The committee said other groups that were particularly |reluctant to call the police, such as gay men and Muslim women, also needed to be reassured.

Policing Board member and chair of the committee Basil McCrea MLA said: “Domestic abuse is a serious and endemic problem in Northern Ireland, which has a devastating impact upon victims, their children and other family members.”

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