Awards focus on fight against society’s abusers

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr pictured presenting the Gold Award to the Deputy Mayor, Alderman William McNeilly and Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr pictured presenting the Gold Award to the Deputy Mayor, Alderman William McNeilly and Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE

The work of local organisations in confronting issues of bullying and domestic abuse came under the spotlight at a major event last week.

The Onus Workplace Charter Awards took place in The Braid, Ballymena with the aim of encouraging others to also commit to tackling domestic violence and was hosted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Deborah Watters, Vice Chair NI Policing Board, presents the Safe Borough Award to the Deputy Mayor, Alderman William McNeilly and Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE.

Deborah Watters, Vice Chair NI Policing Board, presents the Safe Borough Award to the Deputy Mayor, Alderman William McNeilly and Mayor, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE.

Churches, community groups, schools and a range of businesses – from those employing just a few members of staff, through to major employers such as councils, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) and the Police Service (PSNI) – were recognised by the Onus Workplace Charter Awards.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council received two Awards in its own right at the ceremony, the Gold Award and the Safe Borough Charter Status.

Speaking at the event, Colette Stewart, Chief Executive of Onus, said: “This is our seventh year of the Onus Workplace Charter Award and I’m pleased to say that, to date, over 800 organisations have supported one of the ‘Pathways’ Initiatives.

“Our Awards evolve every year, as organisations continue to build upon previous commitments and demonstrate how much more can always be done.

Celebrating the two awards are the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, and Jackie Patton, Head of Community Planning and Development

Celebrating the two awards are the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, and Jackie Patton, Head of Community Planning and Development

“We are therefore delighted to be recognising our first ever ‘Safe Boroughs’, presented to both Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and also to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

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, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified training and resources.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE said: “We have been supportive of the Onus and Pathways Initiatives through the legacy councils and more recently through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

“We are very pleased that support continues through the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and to see additional ‘Pathways’ open up for individuals living with domestic abuse

“We are of course also very pleased to have been awarded the ‘Safe Borough Charter Status’ – along with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council – this year. It is also good to have again received the Gold Award.

“That said, we need to consider what more we can do as we work in partnership towards a society with ‘zero tolerance of domestic abuse’,” concluded Councillor Wales.

Domestic Violence - the Onus is on all of us - means everyone can find out how they can play a part through the various Pathways for Participation. Please visit www.onustraining.co.uk for further information or contact Onus by phone on 028 2568 9450.

Anyone dealing with domestic violence can access support by calling the Freephone 24hr Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414.

It is open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence. Safe Place resources are also provided with contact information for PSNI, Victim Support and Childline available.