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East Belfast MLA Robin Newton has expressed concern about rising numbers of domestic abuse incidents and crimes across Northern Ireland.

Figures obtained by the DUP MLA showed that the PSNI recorded 1,784 domestic abuse crimes within his East Belfast constituency alone in the last two years.

Mr Newton said, "Alongside the figures provided to me by the Justice Minister was confirmation that many domestic abuse incidents and crimes go unreported. The true figures will therefore be higher than even these shocking statistics reveal.

Getting victims to engage with the criminal justice system can be difficult and this remains a significant issue in the recording of such crimes. those suffering from abuse in the home need to understand that it is not their fault and be reassured that they can be protected from it. Many will be particularly concerned about protecting children present in the home, but we also know that these incidents can have a dramatic impact upon their wellbeing, creating anxiety, distress, depression as well as eating and sleeping problems.

This is a problem which is occurs across our society in every walk of life and in every community. It is disappointing that within East Belfast there are no figures available for domestic abuse incidents. However for nearly 1,800 domestic abuse crimes to have taken place within one constituency in a two year period underscores just how serious this problem is.

We must give tackling domestic abuse the priority it deserves. The impact it has on individuals and families are devastating and it can lead to much longer lasting societal upheaval."

Mr Newton's question and the response from the Justice Minister can be found here.