25% of women suffer domestic abuse
Domestic abuse is reported every 21 minutes in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.
Around a quarter of women suffer from violence which can be physical, emotional, financial or sexual, Women`s Aid Federation Northern Ireland said.
A spokeswoman for the support organisation said an extra effort was being made to encourage victims to come forward.
"Domestic violence has always been pervasive in our society. Raised numbers of people are calling our helpline and using our outreach services," she said.
She added higher volumes of people seeking help and reporting incidents to police did not mean the total number of cases actually happening was increasing because so many crimes go unreported.
The number of domestic abuse incidents is at its highest level recorded in the last two years, PSNI statistics released late last year said.
At 6,885, the figure for the second quarter of 2012/13 is 212 higher than the previous quarter and shows an increase of 511 on the same quarter the previous year. Police noted a general upwards trend since the latter part of 2010/11.
PSNI statistics for 2009/10 indicate that they responded to a domestic incident every 21 minutes of every day of the year.
Ulster Unionist Party MLA Sandra Overend said on average victims will experience 35 incidents of domestic abuse before they make a call for help. UUP constituency offices now provide a safe place for victims of domestic violence. Ms Overend recently co-ordinated training for constituency staff from across Northern Ireland to help support victims, in conjunction with Women's Aid.
"Domestic abuse hurts the most vulnerable in our society which is why the UUP is totally committed to helping those affected," she said. "Shockingly the cases of domestic violence against men and women continue to grow. It is important that victims know that there is help for them out there and they do not have to suffer alone."