Blair says urgent action needed to tackle rise of sexual assaults on girls

Alliance Policing Board member John Blair MLA has called for urgent action to tackle the rise of sexual assaults on girls.

The call for action follows figures released by the PSNI to media which revealed 791 incidents of sexual assault of girls over the age of 13 has been reported to the police in the past year, a rise of nearly 60 per cent on the previous year, with 267 reports of sexual assault on girls under 13.

The South Antrim MLA said he would table questions to the Chief Constable this week to see how much resource has been dedicated to tackling the issue.

“I am painfully aware I am asking these questions of police in the context of serious budget cuts which appear to be imminent. I understand where additional resource is urgently required, such as that needed to tackle the issue against violence against women and girls, these cuts will bring financial pressures so serious this essential additional work might not be possible,” he said.

“This has been demonstrated through the postponement in recent days of a police recruitment campaign and the Justice Minister has highlighted her Department was bearing “disproportionate pain” in the draft Budget. It follows that policing, which accounts for 70 per cent of that Department’s budget, has taken a very serious hit as a consequence.

“The budgetary position will be a particular worry not only to those trying to deliver more safety on our streets for women and girls, but also and especially for women and girls who have a right to expect better outcomes, given the increased attention on this issue and the tragic headlines of recent times.”

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