Fermanagh conference told of growing problem of violence against women

A domestic abuse conference in Fermanagh has been told how there is a "huge epidemic when it comes to violence against women". Rachael Williams from south Wales was shot at close range by her partner in 2011. She is taking part in a two-day major conference at the Lough Erne Resort hosted by Fermanagh Women's Aid.

Speaking to UTV Rachel said: "I think we are seeing more people come forward because they feel like they can come forward, but I think perpetrators are breeding faster than I ever thought."

According to Fermanagh Women's Aid, between 2017 and 2021, 34 women have been killed in Northern Ireland. Chief Executive Mary McCann told UTV: "Things are bad. There is a lack of training, a lack of understanding and a lack of empathy.

"There's a blame and generally that blame is put on the victim. I think that's where we are making the biggest mistake." At the end of September 2022, the Police Service of Northern Ireland launched the first Tackling Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Action Plan.

The PSNI have revealed six months on and officers have arrested 239 perpetrators under new legislation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally says there's still much more to do to protect women and girls.

He said: "I'm absolutely disturbed by the level of violence against women. We want to work together with our partners to do all we can to protect women and girls. There's so many things we have done but there's so much yet to be done."

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