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Ulster Teachers’ Union

Teachers welcome Justice Minister's pledge against Domestic Violence

24th Jan 2017
Teachers welcome Justice Minister's pledge against Domestic Violence



A Northern Ireland trade union has welcomed the Justice Minister’s pledge today (MONDAY JAN 23) for enhanced sentencing for crimes involving domestic abuse.

The Ulster Teachers’ Union was responding the Claire Sugden’s call for the public to help eradicate domestic and sexual violence and abuse by reporting it.

“As a member of the trade union movement we backed the ICTU’s recent call to stamp out violence against women, whether at home or in the workplace, and welcome this latest commitment from Minister Sugden,” said Avril Hall Callaghan, General Secretary of the UTU.

“It is an issue we are aware of whether among colleagues at work or in our social circle. It is too often a hidden problem and one which affects an entire family, for even if children aren’t being physically harmed, the emotional trauma of witnessing domestic violence can be catastrophic and life-long.

“It is shocking then that 28,392 domestic abuse incidents and 14,073 domestic abuse crimes were reported to PSNI in 2015/16. It also shows that domestic violence has a huge impact on the workplace here and echoes the findings also of a recent ICTU survey.”

A third of ICTU survey respondents had experienced domestic violence with over 40% of those reporting that it affected their ability to get into work for reasons including threats, physical injury and restraint. 

They also reported that the abuse continued at their workplace including being harassed through phone calls or emails, and many people said that their partner physically turned up to their workplace.

“Trade unions have a track record of action against violence against women, both in the workplace and at home including working with employers to develop collective agreements and workplace policies which offer action and support for victims of violence,” said Ms Hall Callaghan.

“This is a particularly insidious crime in that it is often hidden because women feel a sense of ‘shame’ that it’s happening to them.

“Domestic violence has no class, colour, professional or age barriers so teachers and people involved with the education of our children are far from immune.

“However, we want our members, and anyone affected to feel they have somewhere to turn and a way to make the abuse stop.

“We welcome the Justice Minister’s undertakings but she must continue to take the lead and effectively resource the proposed strategies.”


For more information please contact UTU General Secretary, Avril Hall Callaghan or her deputy Jacquie Reid on 02890662216 or Mandi Millar  on 077 1966 4642.