30 November, 2016

 Press Release 

Wednesday 30 November 2016
Northern Ireland’s MLAs have signed a Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN) Charter pledging ‘… never to commit, condone or stay silent about violence against women’. 
Attendees at event organised by Women’s Aid, in Parliament Buildings, last night heard from the Minister of Justice, Claire Sugden: “Domestic and sexual violence and abuse should never be tolerated by society. Sustained physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse can be totally life shattering.  All this impacts negatively on wider society. It becomes a toxic cycle; a cycle that we all must play a part in breaking.”  
The event was organised as part of ‘16 Days of Action’; an internationally recognised campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence. 
Speaking at the event, Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris announced a new partnership agreement between the Police and Women’s Aid: 
DCC Harris said “This Agreement is an important development aimed at extending the partnership approach to improve the quality of service to victims of domestic abuse.  I am confident that this initiative will increase confidence in the civil and criminal justice system and will improve the quality of service to victims and to more effectively deal with offenders.
“I believe that collaborative working is key in addressing domestic abuse and this agreement will mark a new milestone in partnership working.  I would also reiterate the commitment of the Police Service to continue to work together with other representatives across communities and to further raise awareness of this important issue.  I commend you all for your hard work in supporting and protecting victims of domestic abuse.”
Rosemary Magill from Women’s Aid ABCLN said: “Unfortunately, domestic violence is an issue in communities right across Northern Ireland and this has been recognised by our local MLAs. Their support for this Charter demonstrates that no matter what constituency they represent, they support women who will have been victims of violence. The challenge to us all is to make this pledge real and affect meaningful change for women and children living with violence and abuse in their own homes.”
Women's Aid Area Manager Rosemary Magill MBE with the guest speakers at Tuesday evening's Women's Aid White Ribbon Charter Event at Stormont. L-R, Jan Meile (Women's Aid), Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA, Health Minister Michelle O'Neill MLA, Pam Cameron MLA and Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris PSNI
Notes for editors
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•Support can be accessed by calling The Naomi Centre on 02825 632136 or the government funded 24hr Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414 (Open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence). Alternatively read about our services by visiting
•To help support children and young people affected by domestic violence, text Donate WAID 15 £3 TO 70070
•Join in the 16 Days of Action conversation on Twitter using #16DaysOfAction