Councillor tables motion to help eliminate violence against women and girls

Councillor tables motion to help eliminate violence against women and girls

7 February 2024

A LOCAL politician is taking the lead to help eliminate violence against women and girls.

Downpatrick councillor, Conor Galbraith, wants November 25 to be designated as a day to highlight the need to address the issue and for finance to made available to fund a dedicated strategy to deal with the issue.

He plans to table a motion seeking cross-party support at next week’s monthly meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council and hopes the province’s 10 other local authorities will weigh in with their support.

Cllr Galbraith said shockingly, 98% of women across the country have experienced at least one from of violence or abuse in their lives.

And for him the drive to eliminate violence against women and girls is personal.

“Having had family members subjected to abuse and harassment and seeing the trauma and long lasting impact that violence against women and girls can have, this is an issue that is particularly close to my heart,” the councillor revealed.

“The statistics around this are shocking. Nearly every women in the North will have experienced some form of abuse at some stage in their lives and I feel that far too many people still have their heads buried in the sand when it comes to this scourge on our society.”

Cllr Galbraith said over recent years, the province is among the most dangerous places for women in Europe.

“This is something that should give all of us pause,” he declared.

“Like so many important pieces of work, a fully funded strategy to tackle violence against women and girls has fallen by the wayside because of the lack of an Assembly and Executive at Stormont. 

“If we are ever to get to grips with this issue and change the toxic attitudes that lead to so much harm, then we must start with education around these issues and implement a plan that includes a wide range of stakeholders so that we can send a clear message that violence or harassment will not be tolerated.”

Cllr Galbraith said his SDLP colleague Sinéad McLaughlin MLA has spent years working tirelessly to highlight this issue, confirming a strategy will be a key priority for the his party’s opposition team when Stormont returns.

“I believe Newry, Mourne and Down Council can send a powerful message it stands with women and girls by backing this motion and setting aside November 25 as a day to raise awareness around this issue and the damage it does, not just to communities in Newry, Mourne and Down.”