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  1. ITV Report

Police respond to domestic abuse call ‘every 17 minutes’

The PSNI has launched a new awareness campaign around domestic abuse. Credit: PSNI

Police in Northern Ireland respond to an incident of domestic abuse at a rate of one every 17 minutes.

The stark figure comes as the PSNI launches a campaign to encourage victims to report abuse, particularly over the festive period when the number of incidents can rise.

Last year, 84 reports of domestic abuse were made on Christmas Day, while 142 calls for help were made on New Year’s Day.

We want to remind people they do not have to suffer in silence - that they can come forward to report any incident of domestic abuse to police.

– PSNI Detective Superintendent Ryan Henderson

Between 1 October last year and 30 September this year, a total of 31,008 domestic abuse incidents were recorded.

That represents a 5.4% increase on the previous 12 months.

“The figures are the highest of any 12-month period since the PSNI started recording data in 2004/05,” DS Henderson said.

“These stark figures tell us more victims are finding the courage to pick up the phone and make a report, which is encouraging, but we must always remember behind each statistic is a victim.”

Police also say many incident of domestic abuse still go unreported, but they hope the latest campaign will go some way towards encouraging victims to come forward.

“Domestic abuse is a terrifying crime, which can have a long lasting impact and it can affect anyone, and often leaves victims feeling isolated and alone,” DS Henderson added.

“Our role is about prevention, protection and prosecution - to prevent further violence, to protect the victim, children and other vulnerable people and to facilitate the prosecution of offenders.

“We want anyone impacted by domestic abuse to know there is help out there.”

Disclosure

In March of this year, the Department of Justice launched a new scheme - The Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme - aimed at helping to protect people from becoming a victim.

It allows a person to make enquiries confidentially to police when they have concerns their partner has a history of abusive behaviour.

This allows them to make an informed choice about an existing personal relationship. An application can also be made by a third party who knows them and has concerns.

Between the introduction of the scheme and 30 November, 177 applications submitted.

Ten disclosures were made.

“Previously, it would have been difficult for someone entering a new relationship to find out or be aware if their new partner had any prior convictions for violence or domestic abuse,” DS Henderson said.

“This scheme makes it possible for people to take that extra step, if they are concerned, to do what they can to protect themselves.”

Anyone experiencing domestic abuse is urged to contact police on 101 or, in an emergency, 999.

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