The prospect of a potential homophobic motive for an overnight drill attack in Strabane has compounded the sense of shock in the town, according to Sinn Féin MLA Michaels Boyle.
The PSNI indicated a homophobic motive was one line of inquiry police are investigating after a 38-year-old woman was left in a critical condition in hospital.
Ms. Boyle said: "Police are reporting that there could be a homophobic element to this attack.
“There can be no tolerance of homophobic, transphobic or other hate crimes, and victims should feel confident that when they contact police that their concerns will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately."
SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said: "I am absolutely horrified by this assault. This kind of sickening behaviour has no place in society.
"I would ask the community to give the PSNI the space they need to carry out their investigation swiftly and thoroughly. I would also appeal to anyone who may have information about this assault to contact 'Crimestoppers' immediately.
"My thoughts are with the victim and her family."
A 17-year-old teenager is being questioned in relation to the reported assault, police have confirmed.