Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), launched a new Domestic Abuse awareness raising campaign, ‘Domestic Abuse – It is Never OK’ which will run from Monday 7 March through to Friday 1 April.
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.
Domestic abuse incidents have tended to increase each year since 2004/05, reaching their highest level in 2019/20. The number of domestic abuse incidents fell by 621 (2%) in 2020/21. The 2020/21 figure is one and a half times higher than the level recorded in 2004/05.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb MBE JP, 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, 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’
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 Stephen Ross added “Recent Domestic Violence figures reported by the PSNI, in particular those reported over the COVID pandemic, have been alarming. 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), Domestic abuse is the largest crime dealt with by the PSNI. 1 in 6 men will have faced domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime. Indeed 31% of the domestic abuse crimes, known to the PSNI last year, happened to men and sadly each year men and boys will lose their lives to domestic abuse.
Men remain largely unacknowledged victims, their pain and experiences often going unseen. Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and the PCSP take domestic abuse seriously, for all victims. Their strong messages of support to men who have faced or are enduring domestic abuse is 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 CEO, Rosemary Magill said “In Northern Ireland 31,196 domestic abuse incidents were record by the PSNI during 2020-21. On average PSNI respond to one incident every 17 minutes. For every incident, we know the impact on women and children living with domestic abuse can be devastating. Twelve women have been murdered in NI since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“We welcome this campaign by the PSCP and want to get the message out there for anyone affected by domestic abuse that you are not alone. Women’s Aid ABCLN is here for you and help is available. For more information and support you can call Women’s Aid ABCLN on 028 25 632136.”
Domestic Abuse is identified as threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, virtual, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on anyone by a current or former intimate partner or family member’.
The Council’s work on tackling domestic abuse has been recognised for the past three consecutive years with a platinum award from ONUS, a social enterprise by Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN) that offers specialist training and consultancy services on domestic violence or abuse. The Council have also signed up to the White Ribbon Charter pledging to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.