Issue 46

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By VIEW publisher Una Murphy

The long-running radio drama The Archers looked at the topic of coercive control. I was gripped by how this story played out on the airwaves.

“When the media get the right angle, that’s important,” said Professor Monica McWilliams in this edition of VIEW magazine.

The sad reality is that it is happening to a neighbour or friend in the real world but due to the stigma they cannot admit this type of abuse is happening behind closed doors.

“We call it intimate partner violence, as ‘domestic’ sounds cosy,” Professor McWilliams told our reporter Jane Hardy.

We must name and shame this terrible crime. The level of domestic abuse is now like a “pandemic”, according to Catherine Ferrin, who leads a team working in outreach with Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid.

You can read Catherine’s interview with the new deputy editor of VIEW, Kathryn Johnston.

Judith Gillespie, the former Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, told VIEW editor Brian Pelan that “legislation has not moved with the times and it needs to do that”.

The stigma stops women – they make up most the victims – as well as men coming forward. The sad fact is that a woman may have suffered a domestic incident up to 35 times before she seeks help.

The common denominator between victims, either women or men, gay or straight, is that they must be supported to get out of toxic relationships that can not only lead to mental and physical harm but even death.

Decades ago law makers earmarked public funds to end the lives lost and the damage done by drink-driving. They must put more funds into fighting domestic abuse. There is no excuse not to.

We are very grateful for all the support in this edition from our guest editor, Kelly Andrews the Chief Executive of Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid.

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