DOMESTIC abuse and the influence of paramilitaries in Newtownabbey were found to be major concerns among young people in the area.
This was one of the findings at last week’s meeting of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).
Groups of young people from Burnside to Ballyduff and Longlands to Glengormley packed out Glengormley Pavilion for the public meeting which was specifically targeted at younger members of the community.
Young people were asked to give their views on a range of subjects from drinking and drugs to domestic abuse, local policing and the influence paramilitaries held over them.
They were asked a simple question first to gauge their feelings using ‘Qwizdom’, an electronic surveying tool similar to those used on television game shows.
Following the brief questions the young people were then given time to discuss the topic in groups before presenting their views to the room.
As well as local police inspector Martin Ruddy, members of the Youth Justice Agency, councillors and members of the PCSP spoke to the young people about the role of the organisation and how they could help shape the future of community safety in their communities.
Following the meeting, PCSP chairman Robert Hill said he was pleased with how the young people took part in the meeting.
He said: “The meeting was very good, I thought. We had a really good spread of young people from right across the borough and they all seemed eager to take part and we got a good range of opinions.
“This is about the future of the community, the PCSP and how we provide for the younger generation.
“There is no point in us adults sitting together trying to figure out what the young people want when we can gather them together and listen to their views and engage with them and hear first hand what they think of ideas and how we can work better for them.
“Using the likes of the Qwizdom is a fantastic way of engaging with the young people and getting their attention. Things are much different to when I was a teenager so we need to work at ways to get them to engage with the PCSP.”
He added: “There was a whole range of different subjects covered and some of the answers we received were frightening.
“The fact that domestic abuse featured so high on the concerns of young people was very frightening.
“But to get those views and to have them heard is very positive, now we need to work to address these issues with the young people so that we can improve on community safety for all.”