Kelly calls for more PSNI powers to tackle domestic abuse

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The latest figures, showing a significant rise in domestic abuse, calls for a response from local politicians, says SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly.

Mrs Kelly said that the failure of the DUP and Sinn Féin to resolve their differences has left victims waiting for tougher new laws.

She said: “Domestic abuse is an insidious crime that leaves vulnerable men and women subject to physical, emotional and psychological attack. If it isn’t physical violence, it’s an unending wave of emotional abuse and coercive behaviour that wears victims down and leaves them feeling trapped in a relationship or a home.

“While the Assembly was functioning, I worked hard with Justice Minister Claire Sugden to introduce the Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure scheme to give people the right to know if their partner has a history of abusive behaviour. We also worked to introduce Domestic Violence Prevention Orders, giving the PSNI more powers to tackle suspected abuse and keep victims safe.

“The truth of the matter is that we need to do more to tackle this evil crime and deal with those responsible. Police need stronger powers, we need to be able to house victims quickly and those working with the victims of abuse need more resources. All of this has been held up by the failure of the DUP and Sinn Féin to restore power sharing government. Their party political disagreements are not more important than victims. It’s time to get our priorities right.”