“Ending The Harm” public awareness campaign on paramilitary style attacks launched

Date published: 16 October 2018

A new hard-hitting campaign about the brutal reality of so-called paramilitary style attacks has been launched today (Tuesday 16 October).

graphic for end the harm campaign

The “Ending The Harm” campaign, which is part of the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme, is aimed at highlighting the devastating impact of paramilitary style attacks on victims, their families, local communities and wider society.

It tells the story of a paramilitary style shooting from the points of view of the four people involved: the victim, his mother, the paramilitary gang member and a witness.

The campaign material, which will go live after 9pm tonight (Tuesday 16 October), also includes radio adverts from the same points of view and a poster of a badly beaten man to reflect the fact that paramilitary style attacks also include serious assaults.

The call to action is to visit a bespoke campaign website, www.endingtheharm.com (which goes live at 9pm this evening), to get the full story. The website will also have a number of sections including some real-life stories and information on where people can go for help and support.

Speaking at today’s launch, Anthony Harbinson, Chair of the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme Board, said: “In 2017/2018, 87 people were victims of paramilitary style attacks. That’s 22 people who were shot; and 65 people who were assaulted over a 12 month period. Indeed, in the last five years, 417 people have endured these barbaric shootings and beatings.

“The reality is that the perpetrators of these attacks don’t care about people, or justice, or solving social problems. They are only interested in exerting control and exploiting people for their own gain.

“They don’t offer protection; their sole aim is to terrorise and control, and they use shootings, beatings, drug dealing, intimidation, and protection rackets as their weapons. 

“We are launching this campaign because the toll these attacks take on our society cannot be ignored.

“It is time to call out this activity, and that is what we aim to do. We are adding to the voices of those who have been speaking out on this issue for some time now and have been highlighting the injustice and barbarity of such attacks, and the devastating reality that lies behind each one.”

Today’s launch event included a panel discussion on the issue. The panel members were: Anthony Harbinson, Chair of the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme Board; Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray from PSNI; Sean Holland from Department of Health; Koulla Yiasouma, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People; Arlene Key from the Education Authority; and Paul Smyth from the StopAttacks forum.

The Ending the Harm Campaign is part of the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme which is a series of 38 commitments from the Northern Ireland Executive aimed at tackling paramilitarism, criminality and organised crime.

It involves Government Departments, law enforcement agencies, local councils and community and voluntary sectors working together. The focus is on robust law enforcement, implementing long term prevention measures, addressing social issues that affect communities and building confidence in the justice system.

Notes to editors: 

1. You can access the TV ads on YouTube after 9pm tonight on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC__nXrd_lolCVf715Q7BgrA

The stills are available at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1xu4XlKCPx9DT2X9Dl9K102UCqnMcj9gE?usp=sharing
Please also note the TV ads are post watershed and should therefore be edited accordingly for use on news bulletins or on social media platforms.

2. The website, www.endingtheharm.com, will be live from 9pm tonight (Tuesday 16 October). 

3. The TV ads will be launched after 9pm today (Tuesday 16 October). The victim and paramilitary POVs will be shown together in the same break, followed by the mother and witness POVs. They will also be on Sky Adsmart, Video on Demand channels, ITV hub and Sky.

  • The radio ad will be on Cool FM from 6am on Wednesday 17 October.
  • The adshel live sites will run from Tuesday 16 October and the other outdoor material will run from 22 October.
  • The first burst of the campaign will be for seven weeks, until early December. There will then be a second burst between January and March.

4. To find out more about the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme, click on the link below:


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