The number of victims from paramilitary style shootings in Northern Ireland have doubled in the past year, new PSNI statistics show.
There were 28 recorded paramilitary shootings over the same period.
There was also an increase in the number of casualties resulting from paramilitary-style assaults, from 58 last year to 66 over the same period this year.
Speaking following a series of meetings with statutory and community organisation representatives, young people and political representatives, Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said,
“It is unacceptable that these assaults on our young people are tolerated.
“Northern Ireland’s past cannot be used as an excuse to normalise such assaults. The reality of life for these young people is often that of fear, poverty, intimidation, substance abuse or addiction, mental ill health and a lack of confidence in their police and other statutory services.
“However, I am convinced that this seemingly intractable situation can change if our public authorities work together with the local community to develop a long term action plan, supported and sustained by government.
The Commissioner praised the excellent work being undertaken in the Lower Falls area, but reiterated that this needs to be sustained with clearer long term goals, owned and driven by the community and statutory agencies.
“Services in youth justice, policing, education and social care need to be properly resourced and maintained, they need to work together with children and families and intervene earlier to effectively address the issues facing them and the local community.”