Northern Ireland news

Failure to extend extra UK funding to Northern Ireland domestic violence and sex abuse groups `deeply shocking'

Lockdown `has led to a surge in the numbers of reported incidents of domestic and sexual abuse'

DOMESTIC violence and sexual abuse support groups will received none of the additional £76 million package announced by Westminster earlier this week.

The Department of Finance has confirmed that the Treasury will not allow it to draw down any of the extra cash, despite pleas for help on behalf of local groups.

UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick committed an additional £76 million package for domestic violence victims, acknowledging coronavirus lockdown is making it harder for people to seek help.

Taryn Trainor, Unite Regional Women's and Equalities Officer, said lockdown "has led to a surge in the numbers of reported incidents of domestic and sexual abuse" with its members that staff the domestic and sexual violence helpline in Northern Ireland are "overwhelmed by the volume of calls they receive".

A Department of Finance spokeswoman said: "Treasury have confirmed that the Executive will not receive any further Barnett Consequential as it was provided within the Barnett consequential received in respect of the £750 million Support for Charities announced on 8 April."

Green Party assembly member Rachel Woods said it is "deeply shocking that domestic violence support services won't receive additional funding from Westminster".

"There has been a sharp increase in domestic incidents reported to PSNI since lockdown, as well as a rise in calls made to support services.

"Support services need additional funding to assist victims at this critical time - ultimately victims and survivors may well suffer as a result of this decision."

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