Hanna urges PM to introduce Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

violence against women claire hanna PMQs

SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to fund and enact Northern Ireland’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

Ms Hanna was speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions following the murder of Chloe Mitchell in Ballymena.

She asked the UK Government to work with MPs in the absence of an Executive to deliver the strategy.

South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:

“Northern Ireland remains one of the most dangerous places in Europe for women. Chloe Mitchell is the 39th woman to be murdered here since 2017 and police are called to a domestic violence incident roughly every 16 minutes. Women should feel safe in every part of their lives, whether they’re socialising with friends or at their workplace and in the home, but as these figures illustrate all too often that simply isn’t the case. Far too many families like Chloe’s have been left broken after losing a loved one to this senseless violence and we cannot allow this to continue.

“Like so many of the things we need to improve the lives of people in Northern Ireland, properly tackling this issue has been delayed by the lack of an Assembly and Executive at Stormont. We have been in desperate need of a Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy for many years, but following consultation we cannot move forward without Ministers in place. The situation is compounded by the financial situation seeing groups like Women’s Aid – who do outstanding work – facing funding cuts.

“I’m appealing to the Prime Minister and the UK Government to step in and deliver this strategy, ensuring that the necessary funding is in place and support groups do not lose out because of political failure. It’s long past time that we dealt with the cultural issues and behaviours that result in violence against women and girls still being such a scourge across Northern Ireland.”

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