May 11 1999
Aid calls for more changes following first time prosecution.
Aid acknowledges the importance of the Court's serious response to the horrific
crimes perpetrated by Colin McDonald as part of the campaign to address the
issue of domestic violence in Northern Ireland.
particular, it is heartening to see recognition and acknowledgement of the crime
of destruction of the unborn child for the first time in Northern Ireland.
Despite research that clearly shows the link between pregnancy and the
onset of violence in relationships, hundreds of women have suffered this pain,
grief and loss in silence and without redress.
is our hope that this case will send a message of encouragement to women and act
as a serious deterrent to violent men. Women's
Aid has been campaigning for many years for improved responses to domestic
violence from all agencies including the judiciary.
New measures under The Family Homes and Domestic Violence (NI) Order are
one step on the road to greater protection of women and their children who have
suffered violence in the home.
thoughts and hopes are with Michelle and her family as they try to come to terms
with the trauma of this entire ordeal.
A particular difficulty for the family was the protracted time it has
taken to complete the prosecution. Many
women are deterred by the thought of enduring years of uncertainty due to this
lengthy process. This case is also notable for allowing a key witness to give
evidence by video link. This
acknowledges the special needs of a case such as this.
We hope that all agencies concerned will continue to improve their
response to vulnerable victims of domestic violence.
conclusion we now urge the Attorney General to respond strongly to the
callousness and lack of remorse demonstrated by Mr. McDonald in Court.
- Ends -
Domestic Violence affects as many as one in every four
women in Northern Ireland. Most
incidents of domestic violence are perpetrated upon women by current or previous
In 1998, 8 women were killed as a result of domestic
90% of domestic violence complaints to the RUC are
made by women.
Over 15,000 women contacted Women’s Aid in Northern
Ireland between 1997 and 1998. Over
900 women and almost 1,500 children stayed in refuge accommodation across
Northern Ireland during those 12 months.
A government policy document entitled Tackling
Domestic Violence outlines the issue of domestic violence and the
response from statutory and voluntary agencies.
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