NI pilots panic rooms

Solicitors in Northern Ireland may see many cases of domestic violence averted as the province is to trial the use of 'panic rooms'.

As shown in the film of the same name starring Jodie Foster, a panic room is a dedicated room which can protect people who are at risk of violence from their partners.

The spaces are reinforced in order to keep the victim in and the potential perpetrator out and solicitors in Northern Ireland could see a reduction in domestic violence cases should a pilot panic room scheme prove effective.

According to 4NI website, one panic room has been installed in Antrim to protect a mother and her children, as part of an initiative led by the Housing Executive (HE) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Patsy Smyth of the HE was quoted by the website as saying: "Depending on the victims needs, we would include locks, security doors, film on the windows, grills, high sensing cameras - anything that they need which would make them feel safe in their own home.

"In the past, the victim has had to leave their home and we have to find them temporary accommodation and it means uprooting the children, finding new schools; a whole new way of life.

"This now gives the tenant a choice - to remain in their homes, to remain in their own community, in their environment."

Although the trial is only running in the Antrim/Ballymena area currently, if it has proved successful by July, bespoke panic rooms could be introduced to Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland.

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