Domestic abuse is unfortunately a very common problem which is prevalent in all walks of life in Northern Ireland. The police are often at the coal face of complaints of domestic violence. The PSNI reported that between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018, there were 31,008 domestic abuse incidents recorded. This leads to a shocking statistic that an incident of domestic abuse is being reported every 17 minutes in NI. Unfortunately, not all domestic abuse is reported.
Women’s Aid recognises the trauma which families go through if they have been affected by domestic abuse. Women’s Aid created a garden for female victims of domestic abuse and their children in south Belfast. This was built to allow the women and the children to seek sanctuary and they have called it “the nurture garden”.
Domestic abuse has various forms and these include physical abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse. A 24-hour domestic and sexual abuse helpline is available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual abuse, now or in the past, on 0808 802 141. This is managed by Nexus NI. One can also email the helpline on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 ran a programme on domestic abuse and referred to an app – Haven: Belfast – which may be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. It is free to download and is for anyone experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual violence. The app will assist in helping victims recognise the signs of abuse and where to go for support.
If you are a victim please do not hesitate to contact our family law team to discuss this matter. There are laws which can protect you and your family and which can be availed of on an emergency basis.