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The 6th Annual ONUS awards were this year hosted by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council at the Canal Court Hotel, Newry on Wednesday.

The Awards are given to organisations who have demonstrated their commitment to supporting anyone affected by domestic violence or abuse.  Newry, Mourne and Down District Council themselves accepted an Award, and are encouraging others in the district to support the initiative.

Pictured at the ONUS Awards in Newry were from left: Ms Colette Stewart, Onus Chief Executive; Minister for Justice, Mr David Ford; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Vice-chair Cllr Gillian Fitzpatrick;Assistant Chief Constable Steve Martin, PSNI; Ms Eileen Murphy, CEO Women's Aid ArmaghDown; Cllr Mickey Larkin, PCSP Chair; Ms Maureen Stewart, Onus Chairperson.
Pictured at the ONUS Awards in Newry were from left: Ms Colette Stewart, Onus Chief Executive; Minister for Justice, Mr David Ford; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Vice-chairperson Cllr Gillian Fitzpatrick; Assistant Chief Constable Steve Martin, PSNI; Ms Eileen Murphy, CEO Women's Aid ArmaghDown; Cllr Mickey Larkin, PCSP Chairman; Ms Maureen Stewart, Onus Chairperson.

Speaking at the event, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Vice Chairperson Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said, “Domestic Violence is a complex social issue, the effects of which can be traumatic and often devastating for the victim, their children and their families.  Raising public awareness of the impact of domestic violence is essential If we want to reach a better situation for all members of our society. It is something all members of society should be concerned about and play a role in ending.”

Justice Minister, David Ford said, "As we know domestic violence and abuse permeates all sections of society and it is essential that victims of this dreadful crime are provided with support and protection.  This evening amongst other awards we will be presenting awards for safe school, safe village and towns and safe church.  It is clear therefore that you are making robust efforts to tackle and address domestic violence and abuse for everyone in our society, from the young to the old.  While everyone has a responsibility to recognise and help address incidents of domestic violence and abuse, the onus sits firstly with Government. As Minister of Justice I will continue to address these issues."


Assistant Chief Constable, PSNI, “Receiving this award is a massive honour and privilege for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. It reflects our commitment to work tirelessly with partners to progress new ways to help and support those who experience domestic abuse.  The development of the Safe Place initiative amongst various organisations, both statutory and voluntary, is an indication of a growing awareness that we must do everything we can to help victims of domestic abuse. We all recognise the value of a wider, joined up approach to tackling this issue which puts the needs of victims at the centre of everything we do. Domestic abuse is quite simply unacceptable and no-one has the right to inflict this type of misery on another human being.”

Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) Chair, Councillor Mickey Larkin said, “It impresseses on us our responsibility to face up to and address the pressing societal ill that is violence against women and the Newry, Mourne and Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership are proud to have supported this event this evening and to continue to support the local Women’s Aid ArmaghDown in the provision of domestic violence intervention therapeutic programme for women who have come through domestic violence.”

Onus Chief Executive, Colette Stewart said at the event, “We are delighted to be celebrating over 600 organisations currently participating in our Workplace Charter on Domestic Violence initiative across Northern Ireland. Newry was chosen as the host city this year, after Women’s Aid ArmaghDown entered into partnership with Onus in 2014, to extend the successful ‘Pathways for Participation’ initiatives into the Newry, Mourne and Down area.”

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.  

Women’s Aid ArmaghDown, Eileen Murphy stated, “Changing attitudes is a vital component in the Safe Place campaign.  It is only through changing societal attitudes to domestic/sexual violence which clearly states that we will not tolerate domestic or sexual violence.  Zero tolerance needs to become the norm in our local communities and in our society in general.  This change in attitudes is a challenge to us all and may take a long time to establish, but all of the business and organisations who have taken the commendable step in becoming Safe Place organisations are at the forefront of driving change in our community and indeed providing genuine leadership in our society.  Safe Place organisations are at the forefront of early intervention and prevention through collaborative working and promotion of equality of access to support services.” 

Domestic Violence, the onus is on all of us and to find our 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.  

 

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