Northern Ireland: Abused Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Northern Ireland have least access to support services in UK

Abused Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Northern Ireland have least access to support services in UK

The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Coalition – of which Amnesty International is part – is today (28 November 2007) calling on the Northern Ireland Government to provide proper services for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who have experienced violence.

A new report published by the Coalition entitled Map of Gaps, examines the provision of services for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who have experienced violence across the UK and has revealed through a series of facts, figures and maps, that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Northern Ireland who have experienced violence face the least comprehensive service provision.

Map of Gaps reveals that there are no funded specialised support services for rape victims anywhere in Northern Ireland. It also highlights how Northern Ireland is the nation in the UK where Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have no access to Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVCs) and that there is almost a total absence of programmes which seek to address the behaviour of men who are violent to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the region.

In addition, Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK where there are no support services for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights seeking to escape prostitution, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights coalition comprises several organisations in the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s sector, including Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid and Amnesty International.

Patricia Campbell of Amnesty International Northern Ireland pointed out:

“The situation here contrasts most strongly with that in Scotland which has recently seen an increase in the provision of services for rape survivors. The reason is simple. The Scottish Government is developing a strategic approach to addressing violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and has allocated ring-fenced funding for services.

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Northern Ireland deserve nothing less. We owe it to every woman to allow her to feel safe, secure and respected. That’s why we are asking our Government here to provide more support services. This deserves serious attention and funding and we will be seeking to meet with politicians here to make sure that we press the case for what is a lifeline for far too many Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.”

The report also highlights how one woman in every ten across the UK experiences violence each year.

Speaking about the report Eileen Murphy, Director of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid Newry, Mourne and South Armagh, said:

“I very much welcome the fact that this report breaks the ‘silence on violence’ and exposes a situation of which we have long been aware. When Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who approach us for help reveal that the abuse which they have suffered has included rape, the total lack of counselling and support services available for them anywhere in Northern Ireland means that we are forced to refer them to Dundalk for help. This is totally unacceptable.”

Marie Brown, Director of Foyle Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, added:

“It is vital that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights across Northern Ireland have access to these services. Currently Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the North West have to travel to Belfast for basic forensic services. This can involve a nine hour period of travelling and waiting to be seen. This discriminates against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who don’t live in Belfast.”

Notes to editors

According to the UN, violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is ‘any act of gender-based violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights disproportionately’ Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK includes: Rape and sexual assault; domestic violence; forced marriage; sexual harassment and stalking; trafficking and sexual exploitation; crimes in the name of honour; and female genital mutilation.

End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights is a coalition representing seven million individuals and organisations including: Amnesty International UK, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, Eaves Housing for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Eaves Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, Fawcett Society, FORWARD, the Havens, Imkaan, Lillith Project, the London Centre for Personal Safety, London Feminist Network, National Federation of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Institutes, Newham Asian Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Project, Northern Ireland Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, POPPY Project, Rape Crisis England and Wales, Refuge, Refugee Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Resource Project at Asylum Aid, Respect, Southall Black Sisters, School for Policy Studies University of Bristol, South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, TUC, UK Joint Committee on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Research Group (Bristol University), Wales Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Voice, Welsh Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid, WOMANKIND Worldwide, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid Federation England, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Design Service, the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Resource Centre.

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