Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Year 2016
Type of Measure Policies > National strategy specific to violence against women
Form of Violence Sexual violence, Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence

Brief Description

In March 2016, the Northern Ireland Executive published a seven-year strategy Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland. The Department of Justice in Northern Ireland is currently delivering a range of initiatives under this strategy: 
- A Bill has been prepared to provide for a new Domestic Abuse Offence, dealing with controlling and coercive behaviour and a separate statutory aggravation. This requires a functioning Northern Ireland Assembly to take forward. Discussions have begun as to whether there is scope for a new Northern Ireland domestic abuse offence to be included in the draft Westminster Domestic Abuse Bill. (The framework for this offence had been developed by the Department of Justice.) This could also provide an opportunity to ratify the Istanbul Convention, from a Northern Ireland perspective.
- Domestic Violence Behavioural Change Programmes – two pilot programmes currently operate in Northern Ireland. A pilot domestic violence court supervised perpetrator programme has been operating at Londonderry magistrates’ court since early 2018. Non-court behavioural change programmes are also being piloted for individuals showing concerning behaviour in a domestic context, but who have not yet reached the criminal justice system.
- A Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme – This scheme was introduced in March 2018 and enables a person to make enquiries about the abusive past of a partner. In its first year around 330 applications have been made to the scheme, with 40 disclosures made. Approximately 75% of these have involved direct applications from victims/potential victims or third parties who know them, with the remaining 25% instigated by the police.
- Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) – The Department of Justice are developing a DHR model, to seek opportunities for learning from those tragic circumstances where an individual has died as a result of domestic violence and abuse. A summary and response paper has been published and we will shortly be recruiting chairs to take these reviews forward. The Department of Justice would hope to then further refine the model, using a historic case, ahead of introduction of this measure.
- Advocacy service – proposals for a streamlined advocacy service, to support victims of domestic and sexual violence and abuse, have been developed. Detailed consultation is underway with relevant statutory and voluntary and community sector partners, to establish the scope of the service across Northern Ireland. It is intended that the service will be in place during 2020.
- Special Listing Arrangements – Special listing arrangements are in place at Londonderry magistrates’ court. The Specialist Domestic Violence Court represents a partnership approach to domestic violence by the police, prosecutors, court staff, probation service and specialist support services for victims. Further consideration of roll-out will be carried out in 2019/20.


Source of Information

United Kingdom's submission for National Review for Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, Beijing+25, 2019, p.35-36

For more information: Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland Strategy