Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin organise rally to mark 'International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women'

24 November, 2008 - by Jennifer McCann

This Tuesday is International Day for the eradication of Violence against Women and MLA's and political representatives will show their support for the campaign by calling for an integrated strategy to be put in place to tackle the crime of violence against women.

West Belfast MLA and Party Spokesperson for women Jennifer Mc Cann said,

"Violence against women and young girls has become almost endemic in our society, and we are constantly hearing reports in the media of rape or serious assaults. On top of this there are many more that go unreported.

"Perpetrators of the crime of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are very rarely brought to justice and even when they are in front of the courts they are allowed to put their victims through further trauma by making them relive the whole nightmare again in open court.

"If they are sentenced the length of the sentence rarely reflects the seriousness of their crime. The impact and effects these crimes are far-reaching and may include loss of self-esteem and self-worth, onset or exacerbation of mental health problems, nightmares, panic attacks and anxiety, flashbacks and disengagement from family, social and community life.

"The PSNI and the criminal justice system has to make women and young girls feel safe and confident about coming forward to report these crimes. Survivors need to know that they will have access to justice and that the perpetrators will serve sentences that will reflect the devastating effects that their crimes have on their victims.

"As community and political representatives we need to ensure that the policies and strategies of government departments are enforced with vigour and translated into action on the ground to combat the crime of rape, sexual violence and domestic violence and that adequate resources are given to provide services for survivors.

"Organisations like the Rape Crisis Centre in Belfast should be given the funding and resources it needs to provide the excellent frontline services it delivers to the many victims and survivors who use it.

"We all need to work together on this issue to send a clear message out that violent crimes such as rape and sexual assault will no longer be tolerated. I am calling on all those who are concerned about this issue to stand with our MLA's on the steps of Stromont this Tuesday the 25th at 10.30am."

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