Voice of a Victim DVD launched by Police Service and Women’s Aid

Date: 
11 December, 2013

Voice of a Victim DVD launched by Police Service and Women’s Aid

Recognising that domestic abuse can have a devastating effect on young people, a local youth group involved with Women’s aid ABCLN have worked tirelessly to produce an emotive DVD aimed at helping others.
 
The DVD – ‘Family Portrait - Voice of a Victim’ will be launched today (11 December) in Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Women’s Aid and the Justice Minister, David Ford.   
 
The launch of the DVD forms part of Police Service of Northern Ireland’s annual Christmas campaign to tackle domestic abuse. The campaign will also include billboard and facebook advertising to encourage victims of domestic abuse to come forward.
 
The DVD has been funded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Youth Justice Agency and produced by the Young Voices group which is attached to Women’s Aid in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN).
 
This DVD builds upon the success of a dramatic play also called ‘Family Portrait, Voice of a Victim’. Some members of Young Voices had a keen interest in drama and were committed to producing a powerful play that would represent young people’s experiences of violence in the home.
 
The play was previously performed in Ballymena Town Hall, the Old Court House Theatre, Antrim, The Police College in Garnerville and Stormont Buildings.
 
It tells a story through a character called Julie, a young woman who thought she’d found love but sadly endured over twenty years of abuse.  It is a story about a mother who thought she was trying her best to keep her children safe and who, with the help and support of others, managed to turn her life around.
 
The DVD, also comes with a resource manual that states ‘some of the biggest victims of domestic abuse are the smallest’. It is full of useful advice, information and contact numbers. The pack aims to help the public learn more about the issue of abuse within teenage relationships as well as recognising the early warning signs of abuse and the issues of power and control.  It can be used as a training tool by professionals working with or on behalf of children and young people at risk of experiencing domestic violence.
 
The manual will be distributed by Women’s Aid.
 
Welcoming the launch of the new DVD, Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: “This evening’s event highlights a number of important messages. Firstly it helps the wider public gain a better understanding of children and young people’s experiences of domestic abuse and also to understand how difficult it can be to leave an abusive relationship.
 
“The emotional impact of domestic abuse should not be underestimated. Victims can live for years through harrowing experiences and if the victim is a parent then there can also be an incredibly negative impact on children and other young people within the family circle.
 
“Our figures show that this year to date there have been 27,190 reports of domestic abuse incidents received by police in comparison to the previous year’s figure of 25,196. While these statistics are abhorrent, we know that this is an underreported crime, so we welcome that the increase indicates that more people are confident in the police response to this crime. Our message is very clear. Domestic abuse can only stop if you report it.
 
“We know there are more victims out there, and we want to encourage them to take that brave first step and call police, or one of our partner agencies like Women’s Aid. There is also a 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline number for victims - 0808 802 1414 or in an emergency please call 999.”
 
Speaking at the event, Justice Minister David Ford said: “The DVD is powerful viewing and I commend all those involved in its production. It gives young people a voice, a voice that must be heard. I am pleased that the DVD will now be used, along with associated training material, to educate a wide range of organisations so that they can better understand the safety and support mechanisms young people in this situation need.”
 
Turning to the campaign being run by the PSNI and Crimestoppers, David Ford continued: “During the Christmas and New Year period statistics show an increase in domestic violence and abuse incidents. It is therefore appropriate that we heighten awareness of this dreadful crime at this time of the year and encourage reporting of it. This campaign focuses on the third party – those who may know either the victim or the perpetrator. As difficult as people may feel find it, there is an onus on all of society to address domestic violence and abuse. By reporting domestic abuse or their concerns, victims may get the protection and support they need and perpetrators held to account for their actions.”
 
Laura Dillon, Volunteer Co-ordinator said: “We are very proud of the work and commitment the young people have put into making the DVD Family Portrait Voice of a Victim.  They have worked tirelessly to produce the DVD along with the resource manual, which will be used as an educational tool for all. We hope this DVD will raise awareness of the impact domestic violence has on children and young people as the hidden victims of domestic violence.  Together, we can make a difference.”
 
Included in the photograph - Sandra McNamee (Women's Aid Federation), Ruth Hylands (Script writer), Joe Kennedy (Causeway Media), Laura Dillon (Volunteer Co-ordinator), Ali Ford (Patron of the Make It Better project) and all the young people involved in the play.