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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 06:26 GMT
NI rape victims 'are losing out'
A woman being attacked (Picture posed by model)
Report claims provision of services is the least comprehensive in the UK
There are no funded specialised support services for rape victims anywhere in Northern Ireland, an Amnesty International report has said.

The group has also criticised the absence of Specialist Domestic Violence Courts in NI.

It is the only region of the UK where they do not operate.

As part of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Amnesty has urged the executive "to provide proper services for women who experience violence".

A new report - Map of Gaps - claims provision of services for women who have experienced violence is the least comprehensive in the UK.

The study, published on Wednesday, said there were no support services for women seeking to escape prostitution, trafficking and sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland.

The report breaks the silence on violence
Eileen Murphy
Women's Aid

Patricia Campbell of Amnesty International said the situation contrasted most strongly with that in Scotland, which had recently seen an increase in the provision of services for rape survivors.

"The reason is simple. The Scottish Government is developing a strategic approach to addressing violence against women and has allocated ring-fenced funding for services," she said.

"Women in Northern Ireland deserve nothing less. We owe it to every woman to allow her to feel safe, secure and respected."

Eileen Murphy of Women's Aid in the Newry, Mourne and South Armagh areas said the report broke the "silence on violence".

"When women who approach us for help reveal that the abuse which they have suffered has included rape, the total lack of counselling and support services available for them anywhere in Northern Ireland means that we are forced to refer them to Dundalk for help. This is totally unacceptable," she said.

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