The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA has called on the Government to act immediately to ensure that legislation to help tackle domestic abuse and coercive control - which is in operation in England & Wales but not here as a result of the lack of an Executive at Stormont - is immediately introduced to Northern Ireland.
Doug Beattie MLA said:
“The Ulster Unionist Party is extremely frustrated at the failure to restore a devolved Assembly and functioning Executive in Northern Ireland.
“Our frustration is compounded by the fact that the people of Northern Ireland are suffering as decisions are not being taken in key areas such as healthcare, education and a whole raft of other key areas, including justice.
“One area in which there should be unanimity from local political parties is legislation designed to help tackle domestic abuse and coercive control.
“This had been progressing through Assembly but has been halted due to the ongoing impasse at Stormont.
“According to PSNI statistics, there were 29,166 domestic abuse incidents recorded in 2016/17, and this actually increased in 2017/18.
“It is simply outrageous that legislation to protect vulnerable people, which applies in England and Wales, has still not been introduced in Northern Ireland simply because Sinn Fein and the DUP cannot agree to share power and form a government. People need protecting and the police and courts need powers to help protect them.
“My Party Leader Robin Swann MLA has written to the Secretary of State to urge her to take any steps necessary to ensure that the legislation to tackle domestic violence is implemented in Northern Ireland as a matter of urgency. He has also written to the other Party Leaders to ask their support for our call. I personally cannot imagine why any political party would not support such a move, and if they were to do so, it will be for them to explain to the people of Northern why they do want this legislation to be in force here.”