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Former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie set to make journalistic debut with BBC investigation into domestic violence

Published 01/11/2016

Former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie set to make journalistic debut with an investigation into domestic violence for the BBC
Former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie set to make journalistic debut with an investigation into domestic violence for the BBC

Former Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie is to make her journalistic debut with a television investigation into domestic violence in Northern Ireland on Tuesday night.

The ex-senior police office served for 32 years with the former RUC and later the PSNI during her former career.

According to the PSNI, in Northern Ireland last year there were 28,000 incidents of domestic violence.

Emergency calls being recorded every 19 minutes and up to six women being murdered and thousands more injured every year.

In a programme due to be broadcast on BBC 1 Northern Ireland on Tuesday night Ms Gillespie will ask three women to tell their stories.

The focus is set to be on women as victims and survivors, but she will also speak to a man whose identity is kept confidential.

Ms Gillespie said she "jumped at the opportunity" to make the 40 minute documentary.

"There are few areas of crime, in my experience, where the police approach has changed so radically than in domestic abuse," she said.

"For me, it was always an area of crime that struck at the very heart of community safety - if you can't feel safe in your own home, where and when can you ever feel safe?

"It was an area of huge complexity, where the response needed to be joined up and effective and it was a crime that affected so many people, not just the obvious victim, but the hidden victims too - children.

"It was also an area that did not discriminate; anyone could be a victim and anyone could be a perpetrator.

"So I jumped at the opportunity to make a television programme on a subject so close to my heart."

In England and Wales, the introduction of Clare’s Law in 2014 meant women who feel they may be in danger can ask the police and other agencies if their partner has any history of domestic violence.

Also in England and Wales, new legislation was passed in December 2015 to include coercive and controlling behaviour as criminal forms of domestic abuse.

Ms Gillespie will highlight in the programme that no such legislation exists at present in Northern Ireland.

Gillespie investigates... Domestic Terror is on BBC One NI on Tuesday at 10.45pm.

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