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Publication of domestic abuse and sexual violence action plan welcome but an Assembly needed for legislation, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the publication of a cross-Departmental action plan to tackle domestic abuse and sexual violence is welcome, but an Assembly is needed to pass the legislation to back it up.

The strategy, published by the Departments of Justice and Health, include continued provision of a 24-hour helpline service and developing an action plan to progress recommendations from the Gillen Review when it is published, among other measures.

"Victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are another group suffering because of the failure to deliver functioning devolved institutions by the two biggest parties," said the South Belfast MLA.

"We have in fact had a strategy for three years already, but it is limited by our inability to pass legislation already in place elsewhere in the UK.

"I met the Department of Justice last week and Extern today to discuss these issues and I welcome the progress made by officials in this most difficult of situations. Nevertheless, political failure can no longer be tolerated. Victims need and deserve compromise and consensus to get an Assembly back and legislating in such vital issues."