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Health Department accused of delaying Sexual Violence strategy

24 October, 2006

Sinn Féin health spokesperson, John O'Dowd MLA, commenting on the remarks of British direct rule Minister David Hanson a year after the publication of the 'Tackling Violence At Home' strategy has questioned the commitment of NIO Ministers after highlighting the unnecessarily delay in the publication of the Regional Strategy on Sexual Violence by the Department of Health.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"I have repeatedly raised concerns about the delay in releasing this draft strategy for public consultation with British direct rule health ministers. As far back as Shaun Woodward I was assured that it would be released during the summer and that the Department was committed to the development of a regional strategy.

"However, as we approach the end of October, it is clear that the Department has not progressed any further with the public consultation on this very important strategy. As a result of these delays, questions must be asked about the Department's ability to meet the deadline of April 2007 for the launch and implementation of a regional strategy on sexual violence.

"I intend raising the whole issue with the current direct-rule minister, Paul Goggins. What is needed from him is a very clear timetable in relation to the consultation and implementation of this strategy, and unequivocal commitment that no further delays will be tolerated." ENDS

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