Alderman alarmed at domestic abuse statistics

Councillor PJ McAvoy.
Councillor PJ McAvoy.

A Ballymena Alderman has described as “alarming” statistics which indicate an above average number of domestic abuse motivated incidents and crimes in a number of wards in the borough.

The statistics were contained in a presentation to a Council committee last week by representatives of CYPSP (Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership).

It emerged that ‘domestic abuse motivated incidents and crimes’ statistics, mapped at ward level, show that of 228 wards above the NI average of 9.1 per 1000 population, 10 wards are in the Ballymena area, prompting Alderman PJ McAvoy to express concern.

The CYPSP Northern Outcomes Group uses a range of information sources including an interactive mapping tool (at www.cypsp.org) which brings together data from various agencies.

Other key statistics presented to the Committee from the CYPSP mapping tool were that:

The Northern area has the highest number of children under 18 years compared to the other five Trust areas with 108,657 (25% of the NI total) and 14,550 of which live in the Ballymena area.

Also, Trust statistics show 461 children on the Child Protection Register with 78 in the Ballymena area; and, of 693 children looked after in residential care or foster care across the Northern Trust, 109 are in Ballymena.

Anne Hardy, CYPSP Regional Planning Officer, and Marie Roulston, Director of Children’s Services in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Chair of the Group, were updating members of Council’s Community Planning and Well Being Committee about the work of the Group.

The CYPSP Northern Outcomes Group brings together all agencies working with children and young people from across the statutory, voluntary and community sectors and local children, young people and parents. Ballymena District Council is represented on the group.

The Committee heard that the CYPSP takes an early intervention approach which has proved beneficial in improving outcomes for children and young people and making the best use of the resources available. The planning process has been set up to ensure the involvement of communities by giving local children, young people and their parents, along with frontline staff, a voice in how services are shaped and delivered – this is taken forward locally through the Ballymena Locality Planning Group.

Committee members also heard about the issues affecting families in the Ballymena area and how services have been tailored to meet local needs. These include families affected by mental and emotional wellbeing, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol issues, the need for support for families who have a child or children who have a disability, particular issues facing ethnic minority families and the need for activities for young people.

Marie Roulston, Director of Children’s Services in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Chair of the Group said: “We have made much progress since the Group was set up in 2011. An early intervention approach with agencies working together is essential. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Ballymena District Council in the coming months and years as we move into community planning”.