Update on Domestic and Sexual Abuse Action Plan published

Date published: 24 July 2023

An addendum has been published to the latest Action Plan under the current Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Strategy.

The plan covers the period from April 2023 – March 2024. 

This addendum to the Year Seven Action Plan highlights progress made during 2022 – 23 and outlines new actions to be taken forward by the Departments of Justice and Health for the remainder of this period.  

Cross Departmental actions include:

  • Introducing new criminal justice measures such as new offences of non-fatal strangulation, up-skirting; down-blousing; cyber flashing; and an adult pretending to be a child for the purpose of child grooming.
  • Progression of draft regulations, and preparatory work, to support the introduction of domestic abuse protection notices and orders.
  • Evaluating the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) project;
  • Considering findings from an evaluation of the Ask for Ani scheme piloted in four Jobs and Benefits offices.
  • Commencing work to scope costed options to reduce risk of abusive and offending behaviours.
  • Launching CCEA’s Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) Progression Framework.
  • Piloting Equine-Assisted Therapy and Learning for children in care who have experienced domestic abuse.
  • Commencing work to develop and roll out strategic communications to tackle gender based violence and rape myths using the bystander approach.

A consultation summary report on a new draft Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy is also being published as part of this action plan. The report provides an analysis of the responses to a 12 week public consultation carried out earlier this year. 

Responses have been broadly supportive of the draft strategy and its four pillars of: Partnership, Protection, Support and Justice.  However, the need for an additional pillar dedicated to children and young people was also highlighted. We welcome the views shared and will work with our Stakeholder Assurance Group to strengthen the response to children and young people by adding a fifth pillar to the final draft.

The revised draft strategy and a draft Year One action plan will be finalised in readiness for consideration by incoming Ministers and a Northern Ireland Executive. The current strategy will remain in place until any new strategy is introduced.

Richard Pengelly CB, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice said: “Our consultation provided an important opportunity for people to share their views on the draft strategy, its vision and key priority areas of work.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond, particularly those who shared their personal experiences and our voluntary and statutory sector partners. Your expertise and knowledge are vital to this work and will help to shape the final draft strategy.”

Peter May, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health said:Positive progress has been made to tackle domestic and sexual abuse but we are clear that much still needs to be done, which is why we are also updating our action plan to detail the work that will be taken forward across departments over the coming months.  

For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available. The Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is available 24/7 on 0808 802 1414 or in an emergency phone the police on 999.”

The Addendum can be accessed at the publication section of this website or alternatively via the Department of Health website

The consultation summary report on the new Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy can be found on the publication section of this website  Department of Justice website Domestic and Sexual Abuse strategy 2023 2030, or via the Department of Health website .


Notes to editors: 

  1. Implementation of actions will be the responsibility of relevant government Departments, working in partnership with their agencies and voluntary & community sector organisations.
  2. Department of Justice media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via Email
  3. Department of Health media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Health Press Office via Email
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top