Campaign launched to highlight importance of reporting Domestic Abuse in society

08/02/2021
Domestic Abuse Campaign

The ‘Western Domestic Sexual Violence Partnership’ are working to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the community.

Domestic Abuse continues to be a concern in society. For the period from April 2019 to March 2020, a total of 31,817 domestic abuse incidents (PSNI) were reported in Northern Ireland of which 18,640 were classified as domestic abuse crimes, including 5 domestically motivated homicides. The gender of victims was recorded as 69% female and 31% male.

Since March 2020 the Covid19 pandemic has had a hugely significant impact on all our lives, creating considerable challenges, and with the added impact of an essential lockdown to help curb the threat posed by the disease, there have been the additional concerns where it has increased isolation, fear, anxiety and also tension within many households. This in turn has potentially provided the platform for increased Domestic Abuse as well as a reduction in referrals.

In responding to the emerging concerns caused by Covid-19 the group identified the need for a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the community and the need for us all to look out for possible domestic abuse happening, how to spot signs of domestic abuse and how to respond and report if any specific concerns about someone have been noticed.

Domestic Abuse Campaign Launch

Pictured at the launch of Domestic Abuse awareness campaign are (Left to Right): Tom Cassidy, Acting Director of Women & Children’s Services; Emer Willis, Rainbow Project; Donna Logue, La Dolce Vita Project; Sinead Hegarty, NSPCC and Maria Emillson, Principal Social Work Practitioner.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Cathy Meenan, Head of Family Intervention added:

“It is our hope that the campaign will raise awareness and communicate that we can all do something to both support and protect lives. In addition to raising awareness of domestic abuse, it is important to help create an ethos of collective responsibility to support each other and potential victims in the climate of the current pandemic.”

“We also know that the incident levels highlighted are also only the tip of the iceberg as many incidents are not reported.  The rationale behind this launch is that while it is essential to protect ourselves from the virus by staying apart, we also need to take active social responsibility, as citizens, to support those living in situations of possible harm.”

“There is also an increased concern in relation to children living in households where there is domestic abuse. This is further heightened when schools are closed, the stress of home schooling may increase tensions and the respite provided in school is not available. This can increase the risk to both physical and emotional safety in an environment where there is less contact for reaching out.”

“In addition to the launch of this domestic abuse awareness campaign, we have also developed ‘Awareness Raising Training’ that has been offered to staff within all the organisations represented within the partnership group, and have facilitated 3 sessions, with around 150 attending to date.”

New sessions are being rolled out with the next one taking place on the 19th of February. This training was developed collaboratively and has representation from the Western Trust, Fermanagh Women’s Aid, Men’s Action Network, Men’s Advisory Project and the PSNI.

Domestic Abuse Campaign

The key lines which you will see over the coming weeks across a host of online channels are:

  • Domestic and Sexual abuse can happen to anyone #DomesticAndSexualAbuseCanHappenToAnyone
  • Report and Support #ReportAndSupport
  • Tell someone #TellSomeone
  • See something say something #SeeSomethingSaySomething
  • Ears and eyes save lives #EarsAndEyesSaveLives
  • Reporting domestic and sexual abuse saves lives #ReportingDomesticAndSexualAbuseSavesLives

Further information will be uploaded to our website and across digital and social media channels in the weeks ahead.