A Derry judge has branded domestic violence a ‘noxious weed with its roots spread out through generations’.
District Judge Barney McElholm was speaking at an event in the city yesterday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Foyle Women’s Aid.
The judge said: ‘I firmly and passionately believe that, if we are going to tackle the ills in our society, we have to tackle the major problems facing us today - mental health issues, addiction issues and domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is an evil, a noxious weed with its roots spread out through generations. We can trace the problems and consequences of domestic violence back through generations, maybe to great grandfathers or beyond, because violence tends to beget violence,” he added.
The judge said he believed a programme of education could help solve the issue of domestic violence.
“If we were to educate our children to respect each other and regard each other as equals, that may go a long way towards solving the problem,” he said.
During his speech, the judge gave an insight into the specialist domestic violence listings which currently operate at Derry Magistrate’s Court.
Judge McElholm said one of the tactics often employed by perpetrators of domestic violence was to ‘string it out so victims get frustrated by the court process. They feel left by the way side, think no one cares and no one is pursuing the case on their behalf and just fade away’.
Judge McElholm said the specialist listings were an ‘attempt to combat that’.