Domestic abuse on the rise in NI


Incidents of domestic abuse were reported to authorities every 21 minutes in Northern Ireland last year, according to a new report published today.

Police dealt with more than 24,000 incidents, according to the study from Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland.

In just over half of cases referred to prosecutors a decision was taken not to proceed.

Chief inspector Dr Michael Maguire said there had been some improvement in the reaction of criminal justice agencies to domestic abuse reports.

A total of 24,482 domestic violence and abuse cases were responded to by police during the year, equal to an incident being reported every 21 minutes.

There has been a growing recognition of the need to understand the issues around domestic violence and abuse and to take action when incidents occur, Mr Maguire said .

His report made 13 recommendations including a call for improved consistency of service across police districts in how officers respond when called to incidents.

The PSNI is also urged to review the role and skills of domestic abuse officers and train some of them to a higher investigative level.

According to the report, prosecutors have undertaken training on domestic violence and dealt with large numbers of cases. In 53 per cent of files a ‘no prosecution’ decision was taken.

Mr Maguire said the Public Prosecution Service should continue to review domestic violence and abuse cases where a ‘no prosecution’ decision has been made. This should be carried out to establish whether actions could be taken to improve the likelihood of the test for prosecution being met, he said.

The chief inspector said: “While the nature of incidents of domestic violence and abuse means it is a complex problem for which there are no quick fix answers, more could be done to support and care for victims of domestic violence and abuse.”