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Sinn Féin calls for publication of strategy to tackle Sexual Violence

30 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson John O Dowd MLA has expressed deep concern at the continued failure of the NIO and the department of Health to publish the promised consultation document for the development of a sexual violence strategy.

Mr O Dowd stated:

"The NIO and the Department of Health set up a steering group in November 2004 to tackle the failings of the system which victims and survivors of sexual violence face, a number of issues were immediately identified, such as:

· Meeting the needs of Victims/Survivors

· Encouraging the reporting of offences

· Focusing strongly on prevention

· Challenging social attitudes

"The timeframe promised by Government for the publication of the consultation document was late summer 2005 with a regional strategy to be published by April 2006. Both those deadlines have passed along with a further promised consultation date of Jan 2006, again passed with no sign of action.

"I have now personally raised the unacceptable delay in the publication of this important strategy with two concurrent Direct Rule Health Ministers and it would appear that we are no closer to a document being produced.

Mr O Dowd added

"Society cannot wait any longer for a strategy which should be developed in consultation with all of the stake holders especially victims/survivors who deserve properly resourced assistance and care from a system, which up to now has largely failed them.

"Further delay in the production of even a consultation document leaves thousands of people vulnerable to further abuse and those who are already suffering with the added pain of feeling forgotten."ENDS

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