Local sexual violence support charity, Nexus NI, is calling on MLAs to make a New Year’s resolution to help break the silence on sexual violence in Northern Ireland, in an event held in Stormont’s Long Gallery today (10th January).
In recent months, the charity experienced a 21% increase in referrals for their specialist counselling services, but they know there is still much more to do in breaking down the stigma of sexual violence and encouraging all victims to come forward and seek help.
Hosted in partnership with Kellie Armstrong, Strangford Alliance MLA, and a number of other key agencies, the event encouraged MLAs to take the pledge to do more to help support victims.
Other key agencies and speakers on the day included Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland, Men’s Advisory Project, The Rowan Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Rainbow Project, Men’s Action Network, the 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline and Victim Support.
Kellie Armstrong, Strangford Alliance MLA, said:
“I am delighted to have been able to help Nexus to push their #BreaktheSilence campaign this year. Nexus have made a significant difference to the lives of many people in Northern Ireland, and with the recent rise in referrals, we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can for victims and survivors.”
Cara Cash, Chief Executive of Nexus NI, also said:
“Having the opportunity to speak with the MLAs about pledging to do more for victims and support specialist services is vital for us. We work hard to make Nexus a safe and trusted source of support for everyone. We are here to support victims of sexual violence no matter who they are, who the perpetrator was or when the assault took place.
“As the lead agency offering specialist counselling service for victims of sexual violence across Northern Ireland, we want more victims to come forward to seek that help. However, there needs to be an investment in order for us to be able to confidently deliver our services.
“We are encouraging everyone to ‘Break the Silence’ on sexual violence this new year by taking our pledge on social media, referring those who may need our services to us and by getting involved by volunteering or fundraising for Nexus.”
Anyone who has been affected by sexual violence can contact Nexus, The Rowan, Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 028 94 424 340, the 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 802 1414 or the PSNI on 999.
To find out more or to contact Nexus NI, visit nexusni.org or contact one of the three regional Nexus NI offices;
- Belfast: 028 9032 6803
- Derry/Londonderry: 028 7126 0566
- Enniskillen: 028 6632 0046