‘16 Days of Action’24th November 2022
The Southern Area Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership is taking part in the ‘16 Days of Action’.
This international campaign, which raises awareness of key issues around violence against women and girls, starts on November 25 to mark ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ and ends on December 10, ‘International Human Rights Day.’
The Partnership brings together key agencies within the Southern Area to share knowledge and experience on domestic and sexual violence, to undertake awareness raising and to address local issues.
Collaborating with children and young people, four animations telling the stories of those effected by domestic abuse will be released over the awareness drive from the different organisations in the partnership, including Women’s Aid, the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Policing and Community Safety Partnership and the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) in conjunction with Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.
The campaign will also see the launch of the DASS project – Domestic Abuse and Safety Support Service, in the Trust.
DASS is a pilot scheme co-managed by Women’s Aid Armagh Down and is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, offering confidential onsite specialist support to female victims of domestic abuse within an acute hospital setting.
Statistics show that over 80% of women* in a violent relationship seek help from health services and these are often a woman’s first, or only, point of contact. Additionally, almost a quarter* of high-risk victims and one in 10 of medium risk victims attended ED because of acute injuries.
Flo Fegan, Head of Service for Acute Social Work explained:
“DASS provides immediate support and advice to victims of domestic abuse in Craigavon Area and Daisy Hill Hospitals. It has provided hospital and community staff with expert training to recognise and respond and have the confidence to ask about domestic abuse The service links individuals, children and their families to longer term community based support , strengthening local partnerships to provide a responsive consistent approach.
“We’ve had great feedback from service users, women have felt safe and understood with DASS giving them the confidence to access other support services.
She added: “The next steps for DASS is securing recurrent funding, trialling an out of hours service and increasing the number of referrals.”
Donna Murphy, Chair of the Southern Area Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership and speaking at the launch said:
“Domestic abuse can be any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse inflicted by a partner or family member regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It can be psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional in nature. This includes coercive controlling behaviours
“The Partnership is committed to highlighting the often lifesaving services that the Southern Area delivers and this continued collaboration is essential to drive forward change and develop a response to addressing the complex issues relating to domestic and sexual violence and the trauma that can result.
Chief Executive of the Southern Trust Dr Maria O’Kane said:
“Our staff are often the first point of contact for people suffering from domestic abuse and the work of the Southern Area Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership and the success of DASS, shows that our health professionals have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in people’s lives.”
Pictured at the launch are: Donna Murphy Assistant Director Children and Young People’s Services, Gillian McAllister Support Services Manager Women’s Aid Armagh Down, Eileen Mullan, Chair of the Board of the Southern Trust, Moira McKeever Social Work Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disability, Aisling Gillespie, Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) Project Coordinator, Yvonne Adair, Chair Southern Area Safeguarding Panel, SBNI, Joe Walker Interim Assistant Director Acute Mental Health Services, Flo Fegan, Head of Hospital Social Work, Caoilfhinn Hardy, DASS Worker, Eileen Murphy, Chief Executive Officer Armagh Down Women’s Aid, Sinead Hughes Primary Care Multidisciplinary Team Project Manager, Colm McCaffery Interim Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Martina McAloon, MDT Social Work Lead Helen Cranney, Support Services Manager Women’s Aid Armagh Down.