The head of the PSNI's specialist domestic abuse unit has said violence against women perpetrated by older children is on the increase as she welcomed new legislation designed to help deal with the growing instances of matricide.
Detective Chief Superintendent Lindsay Fisher was speaking after the brutal murder of Karen McClean (50) by her son Ken Flanagan at the weekend.
Flanagan (26) was known to police and had been red-flagged to them and social services just hours before he stabbed his mother to death at her Rathcoole home before murdering his girlfriend Stacey Knell (30) and then taking his own life.
While unable to comment directly on live cases, as head of the PSNI's Public Protection Branch, Det Ch Supt Fisher added: "One murder is too many. Behind every single victim there is a family that's left behind."
The Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Bill, expected to pass into legislation later this year, will broaden out the definition of domestic violence to cover abuse carried out by an older child.
"One of the good things about our legislation, which is going to be wider than some other parts of the UK, is to recognise those difficult dynamics," she said.
"We are seeing children staying at home into their older years so there is always that opportunity for different dynamics of domestic abuse to be present, up to where it is fatal.
"So again, it is about trying to reassure every victim of domestic abuse - no matter what the relationship - to seek help, to ring 999 in an emergency.
"Tell a friend, tell a family member, let someone know what is going on behind closed doors, because that is the only way that we as police will be able to step in and to do what we can around protecting and reducing the likelihood of them becoming a repeat victim."
During the first lockdown in March last year police noticed an almost instant spike in reports of abuse.
"Our weekly averages did increase from just over 500 to just under 600, so there was on average 16 extra per week, which is significant because we know every time a victim picks up the phone, and has the courage to pick up the phone, they are already likely repeat victims of abuse," she said.
"There's a well-quoted statistic that on average a person is a victim of domestic abuse around 30 times before they have the courage to pick up the phone and tell police.
"That is a staggering statistic. The fact that domestic abuse makes up almost 20% of the PSNI's total crime type... again, a staggering statistic.
"During lockdown we actually implemented the domestic abuse call back team, working to call all victims of domestic abuse back within 24 hours, and to date we have been able to contact over 13,000 people.
"That is in addition to contact from their investigating officer and from their initial call attendance - so an additional reassurance, an additional contact away from all the trauma of the last 24 hours to reach out, ask if there's any additional support they maybe need, or if there is any other information they didn't provide at that time.
"Through that we have seen over 470 additional referrals, so it is something I feel is worthwhile, and if we are able to get extra information from victims of domestic abuse and maybe push that over the criminal justice line even for one person, it is absolutely worth it."
The uptake for the Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure scheme, which gives the public the right to know if a person has a record of violent or abusive behaviour, remains low here.
"We do receive a number of applications every month, it's something I keep an eye on," Det Ch Supt Fisher explained.
"We have normally in and around 20 applications monthly, so it isn't that high when you think about the 32,000 incidents reported to police every year."
The new coercive control legislation is expected to be in place before the end of the year.
Northern Ireland is currently the only part of the UK not to have laws for controlling abusive behaviour.
"I really welcome the new Domestic Abuse Bill and everything it brings," she added.
"And we are doing a significant amount of work before it goes live at the end of the year to make sure officers are aware of what coercive control looks like."