Local DUP MLA Mrs Brenda Hale and Councillor Rhoda Walker visited a Women’s Aid refuge, in the same week that she and party colleague Mrs Pam Cameron MLA established the All Party Group on Domestic Violence.
Mrs Cameron said, “I’m delighted that Brenda has joined me in supporting the All Party Group on Domestic Violence, an issue which I am very passionate about .
“I spoke about domestic violence in my maiden speech back in 2011 and am proud to have been involved in the campaigns run by Women’s Aid within my constituency of South Antrim.
Domestic Violence occurs amongst us all, regardless of politics, religion, gender, race, class and manifests itself in many forms including physical violence, sexual violence, mental and financial abuse, it knows no boundaries. Many children are living in homes and witnessing this behaviour and also suffer as a consequence. More must to be done as a society to recognise and support victims and to change the way society looks at ‘domestic’ incidents.”
Speaking after the visit to the refuge Mrs Hale explained how she had gained a greater understanding of the women and the issues behind the statistics.
“I was appalled to learn that nearly 1,000 women have to seek refuge each year and nearly 700 children as a result of both domestic and sexual violence.
“The fear in these families must be challenged by society as a whole. “
She added “I welcome the dedicated work that Women’s Aid contributes to those women and children who need help and support; when you see that nearly 6000 women and children accessed their services last year, the enormity of their task becomes transparent.
“More needs to be done to ensure that all forms of abuse and violence are dealt with and that adequate resources are in place for charities such as Women’s Aid
Councillor Rhoda Walker said victims of domestic violence should not suffer in silence and should seek support.
Figures show that family breakdown and domestic violence is more prevalent during the festive period, and Women’s Aid is there to ensure that support is available for those who need it.
If you have been affected by domestic or sexual violence, please call Women’s Aid on the 24 Hour Helpline on 0808 802 1414.