THE number of domestic abuse incidents reported to police in the Fermanagh and Omagh area has risen over the last 12 months, statistics released by the PSNI have revealed.

Figures from between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 show that, in the local policing District, the PSNI were informed of a total of 1,726 incidents of domestic abuse.

This represents a rise of 35 from the preceding 12-month period.

The statistics reveal that, in 2016/17, a total of 1,691 domestic abuse incidents were reported to the police in Fermanagh and Omagh.

Among the victims of domestic abuse in County Fermanagh during the 2017-18 period was 51-year-old Maguiresbridge woman, Concepta Leonard, who was murdered by her ex-partner Peadar Phair at her home.

He later took his own life. Her son Conor, 30, who has Down’s syndrome, was injured in the attack. It is believed he was stabbed in the abdomen while trying to defend his mother.

During the 2017-18 financial year, Fermanagh Women’s Aid were able to accommodate 11 women and five children in a refuge, with one baby being born in the refuge during that time. However, the charity, whose chief executive is Mary McCann, has revealed that it was unable to accommodate a further 27 women and 22 children in its refuge. In the same period, three local women and eight children were placed in a safe house.

The charity’s latest annual statistics also show that a total of 372 local women engaged with floating support provided by Fermanagh Women’s Aid.

Floating support is a specific outreach service for women who wish to remain in their own home.

It is provided to women who do not wish to or need to use refuges, as well as to women in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or hostels, where no support or help on domestic violence is available.

During 2017/18, Fermanagh Women’s Aid staff and volunteers carried out 764 home visits, while there were 480 visits to the charity’s centre in Enniskillen.

The annual statistics further reveal that, between the start of April 2017 and the end of March 2018, staff and volunteers from the local Women’s Aid branch travelled a total of 45,868 miles.

In the same period, the charity provided Domestic Violence Awareness training to 926 people and Elder Abuse Awareness training to 484 people.

Meanwhile, the PSNI has launched its domestic abuse campaign for the summer months.

The message of the campaign: ‘If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells that’s domestic abuse’ is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents, and make victims aware they can take steps to stop it. The online campaign will run from now until the end of July, and aims to encourage victims to come forward to report incidents of domestic abuse.

Across Northern Ireland as a whole, from April 1, 2017 until March 31, 2018, 29,913 domestic abuse incidents were recorded by the PSNI – an increase of 747 incidents compared to the same period the previous year when 29,166 domestic abuse incidents were recorded by police.