A ‘safe place’ for domestic abuse victims

Pictured at the Launch of the Safe Place Scheme in The Old Town Hall are from left ONUS Business Manager Colette Stewart, PCSP Chair Cllr Seamus Doyle, Head of Human Resources BDC Christine Alister, Lindsay Harris (ONUS),CEO Armagh/Down Women's Aid Eileen Murphy, Banbridge District Council Chairman Cllr Marie Hamilton, E District Domestic Abuse Sergeant Jenni Rea and PCSP Vice Chair Hilary Dobson  � Edward Byrne Photography INBL1441-212EB
Pictured at the Launch of the Safe Place Scheme in The Old Town Hall are from left ONUS Business Manager Colette Stewart, PCSP Chair Cllr Seamus Doyle, Head of Human Resources BDC Christine Alister, Lindsay Harris (ONUS),CEO Armagh/Down Women's Aid Eileen Murphy, Banbridge District Council Chairman Cllr Marie Hamilton, E District Domestic Abuse Sergeant Jenni Rea and PCSP Vice Chair Hilary Dobson � Edward Byrne Photography INBL1441-212EB

In a new campaign supported by Banbridge District Council and Banbridge Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), residents, businesses, churches and community groups are being invited to provide a ‘Safe Place’ for anyone living with domestic abuse.

At an event in the Old Town Hall, Banbridge on Wednesday October 8, organisations found out more about the successful initiative, which has attracted support from over 500 organisations across Northern Ireland.

Developed by social enterprise Onus, and being promoted in Banbridge by Women’s Aid Armaghdown and PSNI, ‘Safe Place’ is an initiative which provides encourages anyone living with abuse to contact local support agencies.

Organisations who already support the Onus initiatives include Banbridge District Council, Women’s Aid Armaghdown, PSNI, Victim Support, Youth Justice Agency, libraries, Churches, schools, constituency offices and a wide range of businesses, with many more expressing an interest.

Chairman of Banbridge District Council, Councillor Marie Hamilton, explained why they are encouraging other organisations to also become a Safe Place.

“One in four women and one in nine men will experience domestic abuse at some stage during their lifetime,” she commented.

“Organisations such as Women’s Aid, Victim Support and PSNI are doing everything they can to support those living with abuse, but we believe that everyone can do something.

“For example, the Safe Place initiative has been effective in getting the message out that domestic abuse is common and that support is available locally.

“It is effectively supported by small businesses such as hairdressers and shops, through to major organisations such as PSNI, Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Youth Justice Agency.

“We believe that we need to recognise that domestic abuse won’t disappear from our community unless we address it, and everyone can make a very clear statement that Banbridge is a Safe Place where abuse will not be hidden.”

For further information on how to tackle this issue in your organisation, please visit www.onustraining.co.uk

Anyone dealing with domestic violence can access support by calling the 24hr Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline on T: 0808 802 1414.

Safe Place resources also give contact information for PSNI, Victim Support and Childline.