Belfast Telegraph

Five killed in Northern Ireland domestic violence incidents every year

True numbers are believed to be even higher as a Department of Justice spokesman said domestic violence and abuse remain significantly underreported.

Around five people are killed in Northern Ireland every year during incidents of domestic violence, according to PSNI figures.

Last year alone, there were almost 30,000 domestic motivated incidents which were reported to police, amounting to more than 80 every day.

PSNI statistics show around five people are killed by a partner, ex-partner or close family member every year.

The true numbers are believed to be even higher, with a Department of Justice (DoJ) spokesman saying domestic violence and abuse remain significantly underreported.

Concepta Leonard, 51, was one of those who was killed in a domestic violence incident in Northern Ireland in 2017.

She was murdered by her ex-partner Peadar Phair at her home in Maguiresbridge, Co Fermanagh, who later took his own life.

Her son Conor, 30, who has Down’s syndrome, was injured in the attack. It is believed he was stabbed in the abdomen while trying to defend his mother.

Now the DoJ is seeking the views of the public on how they will introduce a tool to tackle domestic violence.

Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) were introduced in England and Wales under Section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crimes and Victims Act 2004.

DHRs provide a review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence or abuse or neglect by a family member, a person they were in a personal relationship with or a member of the same household.

They aim to review how local professionals and organisations came into contact with the victim, worked to safeguard the victim and seek out lessons to be learned where appropriate and highlight good practice where it is found.

The primary legislation to extend DHRs to Northern Ireland is already in place.

However the DoJ has now launched a public consultation to seek views on a proposed model for the introduction of DHRs in Northern Ireland.

A spokesman said: “In working to establish a domestic homicide review model the department has worked closely with statutory, voluntary and community sector partners.

“In addition to the views of representative organisations, the department is keen to hear from people who may have been abused or who may have been affected by abuse.

“The views of family members or friends or work colleagues can help us improve preventative as well as immediate and aftercare services and potentially save lives.

“The department intends to publish responses to the consultation on its website. However, all contact details and information that could identify a respondent as a private individual will be removed.”

The consultation is open until Friday September 28.

Full details can be found at: https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/consultations/domestic-homicide-reviews

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