Calls To Violence Helpline Rise

Victims of domestic violence are more confident in coming forward to report crimes against them, Criminal Justice Minister David Hanson MP has said. Statistics show that calls to a helpline have increased by almost 20% in the past two years.

The minister was speaking a year into the government’s five-year strategy: “Tackling Violence At Home”.

Police in NI deal with more than 20,000 domestic incidents every year with an average of five cases ending in murder.

Mr Hanson said the campaign helped reinforce the fact that domestic violence is an unacceptable crime.

The latest statistics indicate that the number of callers to the domestic violence helpline has increased by 18% on 2003/2004 figures.

“The fact that there has been an increase in the reporting of this type of crime in the last year sends a clear signal that victims of domestic violence are more confident in coming forward,” Mr Hanson said.

“We must build upon this work to encourage more and more victims to seek help. We also need to continue to improve protection and support services for victims and their children.”

The police, Department of Health, victims’ charities and the Probation Board are involved in the strategy which involves prevention, protection and supporting the victims.

Domestic violence results in about 700 families in Northern Ireland being rehoused each year.

A majority of domestic violence victims are women but a significant number of men are affected too and abuse also occurs in same-sex relationships.