Domestic abuse reports rise across Tyrone

THE number of domestic abuse reports have risen across two of the council areas which cover Tyrone over the last 12 months.
Annual crime figures released by the PSNI in recent days revealed there had been 198 more reports in Fermanagh and Omagh, with the total number of reported incidents standing at 1,691 which equates to an average of more than 32 reports each week.
Following police investigation 766 of these reports were classified as domestic abuse crimes. Significantly, only 28.3 per-cent of these crimes resulted in an outcome, whereby a conviction, summons, charge, caution or no action was taken against the offender.
In neighbouring Mid Ulster, which covers the towns of Cookstown, Dungannon and surrounding villages, there was also an increase in reports of domestic abuse – from 1,476 in 2015/2016 to 1,500 in 2016/2017. However the overall number of domestic abuse crimes fell from 810 to 752 during the same period.
Derry and Strabane council area was one of the few in the North which recorded an overall drop in domestic abuse reports, with 2,783 in the last year compared with 3,012 in the previous year.
The rise in reports of domestic abuse can however be seen a positive sign that victims are more prepared to come forward, said Orla Conway, the manager of Women’s Aid in Omagh. She said her office had seen a steady rise in the number of victims coming through her doors over recent years.
“When I see that there has been increase in the reports of domestic abuse, I welcome it, as it shows that we now have more people who feel more confident and are prepared to stand up against their abuser,” she said.  
“I think we have to take it as a positive, that the message is now getting through to those who are suffering behind closed doors.”
Ms Conway also extended her condolences to the family of Connie Leonard who was murdered in her Fermamagh home by her former partner. 
“It is such a tragedy, especially as Concepta had spoken out and come forward to seek help. She had done the right thing. We want to reassure women and any victims that there are practical steps which can be taken to protect themselves and it is important that they know we offer that support to them.”
Across the North, there were 29,166 incidents with a domestic abuse motivation in 2016/17, an increase of 2.7 per-cent, 774 incidents, and the highest level recorded since the series commenced.
Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said, “While the number of crimes with a domestic motivation fell, the number of incidents with a domestic abuse motivation rose and I would continue to encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to come forward and report it to police.”
Michael McGlade
News Editor

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