The consultation for the Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Strategy was jointly launched today by the Health and Justice Ministers.
The Health Minster, Edwin Poots and Justice Minister David Ford have launched the consultation which aims to further improve services and support for all victims and witnesses, and ensure perpetrators are called to account for their actions.
The main strands of the Strategy are Driving Change, Prevention and Early Intervention, Delivering Change, Support and Protection and Justice.
The Consultation runs from 15 January 2014 to 11 April 2014.
Speaking about the launch, Minister Poots said: “As the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, I am pleased to jointly publish for consultation this draft regional Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Strategy. The vision of this strategy is to have a society in Northern Ireland that will not tolerate domestic or sexual violence and abuse.
“Women, girls, men and boys have a right to be safe from domestic and sexual violence and abuse in Northern Ireland. It is unacceptable that for many, it remains a hidden crime. We know that reporting figures do not reflect the full picture as, all too often, violence and abuse remains unreported, hidden behind closed doors with the victim suffering in silence.
“This new consultation document has, at its core, a vision of zero tolerance to domestic and sexual violence and abuse in our society. We know that it will take considerable time to achieve this goal and even if the incidence of violence and abuse falls, robust protections still need to be put in place for those at risk, and victims still need to be supported.”
David Ford said: “This strategy sets out our proposed approach to further addressing domestic and sexual abuse in our society. Our vision of zero tolerance is unequivocal. Crimes such as this will not be tolerated.
“Victims are at the heart of our thinking throughout this strategy. They need assurance from the criminal justice system, health and social care and others, that we will do all we can to ensure they receive all the support they require and that perpetrators will be held to account for their actions.
“We can only succeed if we all work together towards this common goal. We know that our respective Departments have had tremendous support from community, voluntary and statutory sector organisations. I would like to thank all who have supported the development of this consultation document. We look forward to further positive engagement.”