Parliament Buildings becomes a ‘Safe Place’ for people living with domestic abuse

Date: 
29 November, 2012

 PRESS RELEASE

29 November 2012

Parliament Buildings becomes a ‘Safe Place’ for people living with domestic abuse

Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA, hosted an event on behalf of Women’s Aid in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey, to acknowledge the Assembly’s pledge to provide a ‘Safe Place’ for victims of domestic abuse.  

The Assembly recently adopted the ‘Safe Place’ initiative, which provides information on support services available to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. Display of the logo also affirms the Assembly’s commitment:
‘never to commit, condone or stay silent about domestic abuse’.

Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA said: “I am delighted to welcome and to host Women’s Aid at Parliament Buildings, on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly.  The Assembly is committed to the Safe Place Initiative, and is proud to work with Women’s Aid, an organisation that provides significant help and services to victims of domestic abuse. I am pleased that the Assembly has agreed to support this cause.”

The Onus Safe Place initiative was developed in late 2010, with the aim of challenging the assumption that domestic abuse was something to be kept ‘behind closed doors’.  

Onus is a social economy business established to support Women’s Aid ABCLN and sustain local services for women and children.

Those organisations that display the Safe Place logo are making a statement – that they know domestic abuse is prevalent and that they will come into contact through their workplace with some of the 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men living with abuse.  They are also saying that they are prepared to play whatever role they can in supporting victims and holding perpetrators accountable.  

Justice Minister David Ford, whose South Antrim Constituency Office was amongst the first to support the Safe Place initiative, said at the event:

“I believe that it is important for businesses and employers within our community to help raise awareness of the support services available in our community to victims of domestic violence.  I fully support the “Safe Place” Initiative and I commend Women’s Aid ABCLN for initiating the ‘Safe Place’ initiative within Northern Ireland and for continuing to promote it and work with organisations who wish to embrace the concept.  I would sincerely like to congratulate everyone receiving an award which indicates a significant achievement.”

Assistant Chief Constable, George Hamilton, also spoke at the event:

 “The Police Service has a priority initiative in the 2012-15 policing plan specifically to improve the quality of engagement with, and service we provide to victims of domestic abuse.  In supporting the development of the Safe Place initiative, we hope to encourage more victims to report domestic abuse to Police.

“It is important that people are aware they no longer have to endure abuse, that there is support for them and a means through the law to address the situation they are in. Domestic abuse can only stop when you report it.

“The Police Service takes domestic abuse seriously and recognises that it is often a hidden crime and has massive impact on victims and families.  The PSNI has public protection units in each of the eight Districts; these units have specific training and expertise in protecting vulnerable people including victims of domestic abuse. ”

In addition to the elected representatives from all parties supporting the Safe Place initiative, attendees at the event included representatives from schools, colleges, Churches, community groups, organisations including Probation Board Northern Ireland, MoD Northern Ireland, Victim Support Northern Ireland, Women’s Aid groups, representatives from Lisburn City Council and Mayors of Newtownabbey and Antrim, to acknowledge their support of Safe Place also.  

Anyone experiencing domestic violence can also access support by calling the 24hr Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 917 1414.  

- ENDS -

For further information contact Lindsay Harris, Women’s Aid ABCLN or email: lindsay.womensaid@btconnect.com

Notes to Editor
Onus is a social economy business, established to generate income to sustain the services of Women’s Aid ABCLN.  All profits are shed to Women’s Aid ABCLN.  

Onus has developed ‘Pathways for Participation’ which includes the Safe Place, Safe Employer and Safe Town initiatives, to facilitate anyone, from sole trader through to a large organisation employing thousands, to effectively provide support for people living with domestic abuse.

Information on Onus can be found at: http://www.onustraining.co.uk/

Women’s Aid is dedicated to providing refuge, support, information and training to women and children who are suffering abuse within the home.  

For more information about our work visit: www.womens-aid.org.uk
Every penny raised supports women and children in your community.

Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne & Newtownabbey is a charity recognised by the HM Revenue and Customs No. XR 13095 Company limited by guarantee No. NI 054434