THE Divert Project and Woman’s Advocacy Project have joined forces to launch an anti-domestic violence campaign for the holiday season.
The theme of the campaign is ‘Handle with Care, this Christmas’.
Citing the recent report ‘Every Contact Counts, improving access to treatment for alcohol misuse in Northern Ireland’, the groups highlighted that, in Northern Ireland, alcohol was involved in 59.6 percent of domestic violence incidents which resulted in injury between 1 April 1 and November 19.
The joint campaign focuses on tackling the issue of drinking alcohol in the home and its linkages to domestic abuse and to get the message out branded pint glasses with the key messages from the campaign are being distributed to homes throughout the north west. Posters will also be distributed to local pubs, clubs, and off licenses.
As the festive season gets ever closer, the number of alcohol fuelled incidents increases, because people are consuming more alcohol than normal.
Reports from 2012 from the organisation Addaction highlighted that alcohol consumption increased by 40 per cent in the month of December, this is in conjunction with heightened stress levels.
Because of this known issues, the message from the Woman’s Advocacy Project and Divert is very clear this Christmas, ‘Handle With Care’.
Members are advising people to be mindful of the amount of alcohol they consume and how they treat the people that are close to them, when they are under the influence of alcohol.
The Woman’s Advocacy Project was established in March 2014 and has been working with victims and survivors throughout the year, providing extensive support for women that are experiencing domestic abuse or addiction problems.
Woman’s Advocacy Project Worker Gina Watterson said: “We know that Domestic Abuse is massively under reported for a number of reasons, such as control and fear.
“We are expecting the number of incidents to increase significantly over the Christmas Period. However this will not be a clear picture, as a lot of the abuse will not be reported. This is why our Campaign is vital. We want everyone to enjoy Christmas,” she said.
Meanwhile, Divert Project Coordinator Ryan Tracey said: “At this time of year the focus of the festive period should be on providing children and families with a safe, happy environment, and ensuring that domestic abuse does not take place. This is a difficult task due to the high levels of alcohol consumption.
“This campaign will help raise awareness of this issues and aims to achieve a reduction in domestic abuse incidents. We know that a lot of alcohol is consumed in the home at this time of year, and that this is where domestic abuse is prevalent. That is why the branded glasses we have designed will be distributed”.
For further information or advice on getting help contact Divert or the Woman’s Advocacy Project by telephoning 02871 269327.