The founder of a Derry charity supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse from across the North West, has hit out at the NI legal system which, she says, is “re-victimising” those who have already suffered.
Donna Maria Logue, from the La Dolce Vita Project, spoke out ahead of the launch of the ‘Just and Fair’ campaign which is to lobby for better treatment for people reporting abuse.
The campaign will also focus on people whose children have been taken away from them as the result of an abusive relationship.
“What we’re trying to do here, is help victims and surviors with the long-term impact on their mental health and wellbeing,” said Ms. Logue. “The situation isn’t over for the victim when the court case ends. When someone’s identity has been stripped away over a number of years, it takes a lot of effort to build up that self-esteem. We have to ask ourselves: ‘is it just and fair that the whole court process can lead to re-victimisation?’
“We have to start considering the impact on parents who do everything they possibly can, but still see the non-return of their children because they had suffered abuse in a relationship. Not only do we have to look at the impact on the adult in that situation - the mother or father who has been abused - but also the impact on the child.
“Often, after an abusive relationship has ended, the cycle of abuse continues in court. What we want to do with this campaign is highlight victims’ human rights. We’ve had fantastic cross political support since La Dolce Vita started but, with the way Stormont is at the minute, that’s not enough.
“We want to see the legislation changed to protect the generations that follow,” she added.
l The La Dolce Vita Project operates on a self-referral process and can be contacted by telephoning 02871-377272