The Police Service of Northern Ireland has today, Thursday 4th July launched its summer domestic abuse campaign featuring hard-hitting animation.
Funded by the Department of Justice, the video campaign will run across all of PSNI’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Detective Superintendent Anthony McNally from PSNI’s Public Protection Branch said during summer months, incidents of domestic abuse increase. He hopes the campaign will encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to report it.
Detective Superintendent McNally said: “If someone watching this video is a victim of domestic abuse, I hope it will help give them the courage to pick up the phone and tell us what they are going through. I also hope it will help raise awareness about how to recognise domestic abuse, and where to access support and help.
“Very often people who are being abused don’t know where to turn, but I want to encourage all victims - regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation - to come forward and report the matter to us. Speak out to stop it and we will help you.”
Every 17 minutes, PSNI officers respond to an incident of domestic abuse.
From the 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019, there were 31,682 domestic abuse incidents recorded by PSNI. This is an increase of 5.9% (1,769 incidents) from the previous year. These figures are the highest of any 12-month period since PSNI started recording data in 2004/05.
Detective Superintendent McNally said: “These are stark statistics, and we must never forget behind each statistic is a victim with a harrowing story of abuse.”
The senior PSNI officer made a direct appeal to anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse.
Detective Superintendent McNally continued: “While our figures show more victims have found the strength to pick up the phone and make a report, we should never forget the often long lasting and sometimes devastating impact of abuse. I want to take this opportunity to reassure anyone who is a victim of abuse, you are not alone.
“Help is out there in many forms, and every step of the way, so please come forward and report what is happening to us. Please, remember, we are here to listen and to work with our partners to protect and help you.”
He added: “Domestic abuse is a crime and until victims are aware there is a safe environment to share their concerns, they will continue to hold on to the secret of domestic abuse.”
Anyone suffering from domestic abuse should contact police on the non-emergency 101, or in an emergency call 999. A 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline is available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual abuse, now or in the past on 0808 802 1414.
Detective Superintendent McNally added: “As the Police Service of Northern Ireland, it is our job to keep people safe. Our role is about prevention, protection and prosecution – to prevent further violence, to protect the victim, children and other vulnerable people and to facilitate the prosecution of offenders.
“We work closely with statutory and voluntary agencies to ensure victims get the help they need, to highlight the issue of Domestic Abuse and to explore ways in which we can keep people safe. In addition to uniformed officers trained to respond to and investigate domestic incidents, PSNI also has dedicated domestic abuse officers across Northern Ireland to ensure all domestic abuse crimes are investigated, as well as providing support and information to victims about police procedures and legal proceedings.”
Anthony Harbinson, Safer Communities Director, Department of Justice said: “The Department of Justice, which is committed to tackling domestic and sexual violence and abuse through its cross-departmental strategy, is pleased to support this important initiative. We hope this video will help raise public awareness of the often hidden nature of domestic abuse within our community and encourage people to come forward to seek help. The PSNI video will complement messages portrayed in the Department’s “See the Signs” campaign launched last year. The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence and abuse and to signpost people to the Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme, and will run until March 2020.”
To view the video please click on the link https://youtu.be/vj31gMwlduA