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Project Title:Counteract: Anti Intimidation Support Unit
Contact:Joe Law
45/47 Donegall Street
Telephone:01232 237023


The Anti-Intimidation Support Unit was established by an anti-intimidation working Party which included representatives from Counteract, CAB, Belfast Law Centre and the Committee on the Administration of Justice. Research showed a lack of understanding on the levels and types of intimidation taking place throughout the community. The research also showed that no organisation had responsibility for compiling information on, or monitoring patterns of, intimidation throughout Northern Ireland. The unit was established within Counteract. To assist us in this work we use the Action Against Intimidation Information and Advice Manual which was published by CRC and the CAB after a number of agencies from a broad spectrum of areas including statutory, voluntary, trade unions, advice groups and service providers. The manual contains information and advice for those dealing with victims of intimidation and contains:

* a definition of intimidation
* advice on dealing with intimidation
* information on relevant agencies
* a recording sheet which can be used to record individual incidents of intimidation.

We have two employees within the unit:

Joe Law - Trainer/Development Officer
Paul Oakes - Administrator/Collator
We have established a data base which we can link to other organisations using the recording sheet where we can collect and then collate the information centrally and distinguish patterns and hotspots of intimidation. The unit will become a central resource of information and advice for those dealing with victims of intimidation.

Within the unit we provide training, advice, support and research facilities. We are currently working with Housing Associations providing anti-sectarian and harassment awareness training on the basis of staff/staff, staff/resident and resident/resident relationships in examining what is required in creating a harmonious working and living environment. In addition we are working with the Housing Rights Service and the Law Centre and this training is aimed at advice workers dealing with victims of intimidation. This involves:

* to explore an awareness of sectarian attitudes
* to enhance workers ability to assist victims of intimidation to be rehoused
* to provide practical advice and guidance on financial assistance available to victims and families.

We have produced a Newsletter which has been distributed widely.

We held a conference in Belfast on 30th May 1997 where we explored and examined the need for the Community and Voluntary sector to develop policies, procedures and strategies to deal with incidents of intimidation and harassment. In addition we looked at how these organisations could develop an anti-sectarian ethos within the organisation from management commitment to employees, volunteers, users, clients etc.

After the civil disturbances in Northern Ireland from June to September 1996, the North Belfast CDC initiated a community inquiry. Joe Law was asked to sit on the inquiry panel. The other panel members were Prof. Eithne McLaughlin, Duncan Morrow and Neil Jarman. The first part of the report was published in June 1997 and deals with the evidence from individuals and groups of their experiences at that time. The second part of the report will examine the experiences within the communities of the response of agencies charged with providing for, and responding to, specific social need.

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