She was speaking on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and in response to a written answer from the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
McLaughlin had asked what action they will take in the light of statistics that show Northern Ireland and Romania have the joint highest rate of murder of women related to domestic violence.
She also asked how this will inform The Executive Office’s ongoing work developing a strategy to address the violence against women and girls.
Only today, Stephen McKinney was told he would serve a minimum of 20 years in prison without parole for the murder of his wife Lu Na McKinney in 2017 while on a boating holiday with their two children in Co Fermanagh.
Said the Foyle MLA: “It is a terrible indictment of our society that we have the joint highest murder rate of women in the home.
“It is essential that we have a strategy that contains actions that support women and girls suffering violence and to prevent this. We know that domestic violence is all too common in our society, but it should be a shock to everyone to learn the scale of the awful murder rate here that is related to domestic violence.
“We need an action programme that includes improved rescue support for women and children at risk, while it is essential that the police and other criminal justice agencies take effective and fast action when there are warning signs.
“But we must also ensure that our society has a culture of mutual respect, which eliminates misogyny. We need to listen to people when they tell us they have been threatened and look out for signs of distress.
“Those of us who are parents have responsibilities to teach the principles of respect and an understanding of what constitutes consent, while all of us should attempt to challenge unacceptable behaviour when we see it.
“As chair of the Assembly’s Committee for the Executive Office, oversight of the strategy addressing violence against women and girls is one of my most important and pressing priorities and the committee will soon hear from officials on their progress.
“A recent report from the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with The Commission for Victims and Survivors highlighted the continuing impact of the Troubles, including how violence became an ingrained part of our society.
“It is essential that we understand the implications of this and whether this helps to explain the unacceptable and tragic rate of domestic violence-related murder of women and girls.
“I look forward to the authors of this report addressing the committee in the near future.”Tags: