Derry’s Mayor Elisha McCallion was the opening speaker at the ‘Connecting the Dots’ Conference in the city on Wednesday.
She told those gathered in the Millennium Forum studio that she had been horrified to learn the scale of the problem across the north which was highlighted in recently released figures.
“It really shook me to hear that once every 19 minutes in the north an incident of domestic abuse is reported. And that is just the cases which are reported. It goes to show that there must be so many more people suffering in cases which aren’t reported,” said Colr. McCallion.
She went on to praise staff at Dove House for the Women’s Advocacy Project initiative.
“Derry is looked upon by the rest of the north as an area of best practice when it comes to dealing with domestic abuse but there has been an obvious gap in terms of how we, as a community, support people who are affected and signpost them,” she added.
“I think it’s important that we congratulate Foyle Women’s Aid and the PSNI for the sterling work carried out by them. I’ve had to send people to Foyle Women’s Aid myself and they are a credit to the city. The initiative we are speaking about here today is about highlighting the issue and also about raising awareness around domestic abuse in our city.
“I think in the community sector in particular there is a need for the kind of service which we’ve seen Dove House introducing and it’s certainly something I’d like to see replicated across all of the neighbourhood renewal areas. Anything which helps people talk more about domestic abuse and access help in their own communities in an easier way is certainly to be welcomed.”