Sugden: ‘zero tolerance to domestic abuse’

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The Abbey Street office of East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has been designated as an Onus Safe Place partner.

Onus support Women’s Aid through providing services for anyone affected by domestic abuse and violence.

MLA Sugden told The Times: “Domestic abuse may no longer be a hidden issue, but whilst talked about more often it certainly hasn’t gone away.

“Police figures from November 2015 show that domestic abuse incidents have increased in the last decade, whilst crimes in 2015 were the highest level recorded since 2005.

“More victims are coming forward to report abuse but the number of positive outcomes from recorded offences is not keeping up. The Government need to do more to target this issue. I have expressed my concern that the Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Strategy has been consistently delayed. Victims are not getting the support that they need whilst the Executive drag their heels.

“I recently became Secretary of the All Party Group on Domestic Violence. This position allows me to advocate more effectively for victims of abuse and I have been lobbying the Executive for a number of months for progress on its strategy.

“Having my office certified by as a Safe Place is my pledge to acknowledge domestic violence, to support victims, and to provide a safe place for them. The visible Onus badge in the window will let victims know that they can find support here. For many this is the first step to getting the help they need.

“The onus is on all of us to have a zero-tolerance attitude to abuse of any kind which makes victims feel safe to come forward. My office can provide a Safe Place for this.”