Council awarded for their efforts to tackle domestic violence

Councillor James Baird, Chairman of the Council's Environmental Services Committee is pictured receiving the Council's Gold Charter from Will Kerr, Assistant Chief Constable PSNI.
Councillor James Baird, Chairman of the Council's Environmental Services Committee is pictured receiving the Council's Gold Charter from Will Kerr, Assistant Chief Constable PSNI.

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council have retained its Gold Workplace Charter to acknowledge the work all are doing to tackle domestic abuse.

The Onus Workplace Charter Awards were held in the in the Braid Arts Centre and are given to organisations who have demonstrated their commitment to support anyone affected by domestic violence or abuse.

The Onus approach and supporting initiatives acknowledge that partnership working is crucial in providing an effective response to anyone living with abuse. Any organisation wishing to provide a Safe Place for people to access information on local, expert services, or become a Safe Employer, and work in partnership with the range of local services to support employees’ health and wellbeing will be offered the necessary policy support, CPD certified training and resources.

Councillor James Baird, Chairman of the Council’s Environmental Services Committee, said: “We are delighted to have retained the Gold Workplace Charter and the Council will continue to be supportive of the Onus and Pathways Initiatives. This Charter acknowledges the continuous commitment to supporting employees who may be affected by domestic violence.

“The Council works effectively in partnership with Onus to support both policymaking and good practice on domestic violence and abuse, and how it affects the workplace. We as an employer must undertake a duty of care role to help provide protection to our employees, emphasising to those in need that help and support is available.

“I am pleased that support for decreasing the instances of domestic violence in the area is provided through the Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership. It is via partnerships with Onus, the PSNI and the local PSCP that we can work together to try and create a society with ‘zero tolerance of domestic abuse.

“It must be remembered that domestic abuse isn’t just physical, it can include many other forms – emotional, sexual, verbal and financial; children within the family can also be affected, so it is vital that we do all we can to help reduce the levels of domestic violence and abuse”, concluded Councillor Baird.

Colette Stewart, Chief Executive of Onus, said: “Our Awards evolve every year, as organisations continue to build upon previous commitments and demonstrate how more can always be done. It is really heartening to see the commitment of the Council in working with us towards a society with zero tolerance for domestic abuse.”

Speaking at the event, Anthony Harbinson the Director, Safer Communities Directorate, Department of Justice said: “The recently appointed Justice Minister, Claire Sugden has identified tackling domestic abuse as being one of her key Ministerial priorities and the Department is already taking forward actions aimed at breaking the cycle of violence and abuse. We also recognise that when abuse does happen victims need to be supported and protected and that perpetrators should be brought to justice. The collaborative partnership approach of the Workplace Charter is essential to delivering effective outcomes for many victims of domestic abuse and their families.”

Speaking about the awards Policing Board Vice Chair Debbie Watters said: “On behalf of the Policing Board I would like to congratulate all those who have received awards to acknowledge the excellent work they are doing on the ground to tackle domestic abuse. This Onus initiative is an innovative way of ensuring victims of this heinous crime get the help and the support they need. While much is being done, sadly incidents of domestic abuse are increasing year on year and we need to continue to work with our partners to find solutions.”

Domestic Violence, the onus is on all of us and to find out how you can play your part through our various Pathways for Participation please visit www.onustraining.co.uk for further information or contact us on 028 2568 9450.

Anyone dealing with domestic violence can access support by calling the Free phone 24hr Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414. Open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence. Safe Place resources also provide contact information for PSNI, Victim Support and Childline.