Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), launched its Domestic Abuse awareness raising campaign, ‘Domestic Abuse – It is Never OK’. The campaign, now in its third year, will run from Monday 27 February through to Sunday 26 March.
This hard-hitting campaign is aimed at raising awareness that anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, background or religion.
The latest figures reported by the PSNI showed there were 33,186 domestic abuse incidents in Northern Ireland last year, one of the highest totals since records began. This truly chilling statistic, equates to 18 domestic abuse incidents and 12 domestic abuse crimes per 1,000 of the population.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross said “Domestic Abuse should not be accepted at any level, it knows no boundaries. Anyone can fall victim to Domestic Abuse and as a society we need to join together to convey a clear message that there are no circumstances where this is acceptable. I would urge all victims to come forward and seek the help and support they need and deserve. Through this campaign we want to send a clear message - ‘It is Never OK’
The Mayor continued, “I feel strongly about the need to raise awareness on the subject of Domestic Abuse and to convey that it has no place in society today or ever.”
Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Leah Smyth added “I welcome this campaign by the Policing and Community Safety Partnership, particularly in relation to the message that ANYONE can be a victim, male or female. I would urge all those affected by Domestic Abuse to come forward and make use of the support services that are available.”
Rhonda Lusty from Men’s Advisory Project NI (MAP NI) stated “Domestic abuse is the largest crime dealt with by the PSNI. One in six men will have faced domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime. Indeed 32% of domestic abuse crimes, known to the PSNI last year, happened to men. Sadly each year men and boys will lose their lives to domestic abuse, as five have done during the last year.
Men remain largely unacknowledged victims, their pain and experiences often going unseen. We and the Borough want you all to know that help is available to you.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and the PCSP takes domestic abuse seriously, for all victims. Their strong and dedicated messages of support to men who have faced or are enduring domestic abuse have been life changing.
Domestic abuse is never ok and there can be no excuse made for it. MAP are grateful for the impactful support and understanding provided by the PCSP.”
Women’s Aid ABCLN’s Communication and Engagement Manager, Arlene Creighton said “We welcome this campaign by Antrim and Newtownabbey PCSP. One in four women will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime. PSNI respond to one incident of domestic abuse every 16 minutes. For every incident we know the impact on women and children can be devastating. Women’s Aid ABCLN provides confidential support, information and emergency accommodation for women and children affected by domestic abuse across Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey. We believe that no-one should have to live in fear or threat from abuse.”
Jan Winton, Early Intervention and Prevention Manager at Nexus said, “Nexus hosts the Domestic and Sexual Abuse helpline on behalf of the Department of Communities, Justice and Health. We welcome this campaign from Antrim and Newtownabbey PCSP on raising awareness of domestic abuse in the area. It’s important everyone knows that abusive relationships don’t just happen in domestic settings and can take different forms which are not always physical. Coercive controlling behaviour, such as isolation and humiliation is at the core of domestic abuse and is now a crime in Northern Ireland. Abusive relationships can also happen to anyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The Chairperson of Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Michael Goodman added, “I am heartened by the partnership that I can see working in action through this awareness raising project. The dedication of the organisations who work in this challenging area on a daily basis, the value of their knowledge and resilience cannot be underestimated. This, alongside the commitment of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey who have put the support of their offices behind this campaign for the third year running, is encouraging for all members of the PCSP who have repeatedly voiced their concerns about Domestic Abuse and provide annual funding for projects and initiatives to address this.”
If you would like more information or have been affected by this please visit www.womens-aid.org.uk/contact-us, www.mapni.co.uk or www.nexusni.org or alternatively call the free helpline T. 0808 802 1414.