Co Antrim service launched to support abuse victims

The PSNI has welcomed the launch of the ONUS Safe Community Project as the scheme was introduced across Antrim and Newtownabbey and Mid and East Antrim last week.

Onus, a social enterprise based in Co Antrim have developed a new initiative to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the impact on individuals and families across the community and how businesses, schools, community groups and churches can work together and support anyone who has experienced abuse in their home.

Colette Stewart, Chief Executive of Onus said: “We believe that in order to create a society with zero tolerance to abuse, we all have a part to play.

“Working in partnership allows us to integrate our skills, our understanding and our support to develop a multi-agency project that will reach out to everyone in our community, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religion, cultural background or whether they have additional health or support needs.​

Officers at the launch of the ONUS Safe Community Project at Integrated College Glengormley.

Training will be delivered over the coming months by Onus and ‘Safe Place Partners’ Women’s Aid ABCLN, PSNI and Nexus including provision of Safe Place signposting resources including the Safe Place cards and posters that will link, via a QR code, through to the range of support available locally.

Lindsay Harris from Onus, who will be delivering training, added: “We want people to know that if their home is not a safe place for them, then there are other places in the community that are. We also want them to know how they can access that support. The Safe Place logo means that there is information available, and there is support for everyone.”

Commenting on the programme, Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher said: “We are delighted to continue our support for the Onus Safe Place initiative that empowers communities to recognise and respond to anyone affected by domestic abuse.

“By working together we can strive to create more safe places within our communities to ensure victims of domestic abuse have access to vital help and support services available.

“We are currently providing training to officers within Neighbourhood Policing Teams on the many forms of domestic abuse to empower them to safeguard more victims, bring even more offenders to justice and deliver the Safe Place message to local communities throughout Northern Ireland.

“Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation. These behaviours can fatally escalate so I want to encourage anyone who is being threatened, abused, controlled or intimidated by someone they love to report to Police.

“We know it is difficult to take that first brave step in coming forward but you don’t have to suffer in silence. It is not your fault and we are here to help you.

“If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or know someone who is, speak out to stop it. Report to Police us by calling 101, or in an emergency call 999. If you’re calling 999 for help, but too afraid to speak, dial 55 on your mobile phone when calling in an emergency and the operator will know that you need to be put through to police. All reports are treated seriously, they will be investigated sensitively and the Police Service of Northern Ireland will do everything it can to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.

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“A 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is also available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual abuse, now or in the past. The number to call is 0808 802 1414.”