Welcoming the publication of the Women’s Aid 2022 Election Manifesto, she said:
‘‘Domestic abuse accounts for 20% of all crime reported in Northern Ireland. That is a deeply shocking statistic. We must remember that behind each case is a victim - and often children - who not only need support in the justice system but practical, emotional and financial support that is tailored to their needs.
The last Assembly made significant strides toward tackling domestic violence, coercive control and stalking but as Women’s Aid have rightly highlighted much more can and should be done.
I want to see a more strategic approach to funding that ensures the drive to tackle domestic and sexual crime, and violence against women and girls specifically, is sustained going forward. Support must reflect the fresh challenges presented by the cost-of-living crisis to women trapped in these awful situations.
The move to multi-year budgets would also help minimise the risk of vital money going unspent when victims and service providers are desperate for additional resources.
It is clear that the next mandate provides new opportunities to address these important issues. I for one am committed to ensuring better support for victims of domestic abuse continues to be front and centre of the Assembly’s work.’’