Belfast Telegraph

Belfast to host UK's first gender-based violence course

By Ali Gordon

Belfast will host a training course designed to tackle gender-based violence later this month.

Funded by the Avon Foundation for Women, the Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence provides participants with tools to identify, investigate and prosecute these crimes.

The event, which takes place at the Merchant Hotel from February 27 to March 1, will be the first ever Justice Institute to take place in the UK.

“Belfast was identified as uniquely well-suited to benefit from a Justice Institute not only due to its unique history of conflict and the impact of this on intimate partner violence, but also due to its network of dedicated advocates working tirelessly to support survivors of violence,” said Christine Jaworsky, Director of Avon Foundation for Women.

“Shockingly statistics show that police respond to an average of 60 domestic-related incidents a day and that domestic violence in Northern Ireland is at its highest level in 10 years.”

The Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland Annual Report 2016-2017 found that there were 29,657 calls managed by the 24 Hour domestic and sexual violence helpline.

Police responded to a domestic incident every 18 minutes daily with a further 14.2% of all crime reported to the PSNI being of a domestic violence nature.

Last year a quarter of all murders in Northern Ireland had a domestic motivation.

Nicole Hauspurg, program manager for Human Rights at Vital Voices Global Partnership, added: “The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence in Belfast aims to engage allied advocates in Northern Ireland to collectively address common barriers to effectively investigate and prosecute gender-based violent crimes, where existing laws are not always understood or consistently enforced, often leaving women unprotected and their abusers unaccountable.”

It is expected that participants of the training initiative will include judges, prosecutors, law enforcement and service providers.

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