Published Tuesday, 29 October 2013
A report from the Criminal Justice Inspectorate claimed that police are failing to tackle rising levels of the crime in Northern Ireland.
It said there has been a 10% rise in the number of incidents over the past three years but the corresponding rate of detection has dropped - meaning fewer cases reach the courts.
In the past year over 27,000 domestic abuse incidents have been reported and 35% of those responsible, while the previous year there were 25,196 cases and a detection rate of 41%.
CJI chief inspector Brendan McGuigan said: "More needs to be done to get back on track."
He added that he is disappointed that many of the 13 recommendations made by his organisation in 2010 have not been progressed by the PSNI.
McGuigan continued: "We acknowledge that this is a difficult and complex problem, and there are no quick fix answers. However, I am convinced that with greater effort and focus from the criminal justice agencies, the unacceptable rises in this type of crime and fall in the detection of perpetrators can be reversed."
Heterosexual men and women and those in same-sex relations have been the victims of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland.
Mr McGuigan said addressing the issue of domestic violence and abuse required victims to be adequately supported and placed at the centre of the criminal justice process.
He explained: "Inspectors understand that where there has been co-location of Women's Aid workers with Public Protection Units this has had a positive impact and delivered more beneficial outcomes for high risk victims.
"We would hope this approach when combined with the establishment of Victim and Witness Care Units, will improve the experience of those victims who come forward, as it is only through perpetrators being convicted at court that victims can be fully protected."
Responding to the report, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said police "welcome" the findings and "recognise that more work needs to be completed" in this area.
He continued: "Whilst we are encouraged to see more victims coming forward and making the brave decision to tell police what has happened to them, there are still many who are suffering in silence.
"A 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline is also available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual violence, now or in the past. It is open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence on 0808 802 1414.
"The PSNI would strongly encourage anyone suffering from domestic abuse to contact their local police on 0845 600 8000. In an emergency, call 999."
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