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Housing intimidation in Northern Ireland: More than 2,000 incidents but only 32 convictions

DESPITE nearly 2,000 validated incidents of people being forced from their homes in Northern Ireland due to housing intimidation in the past five years, just 32 convictions have been secured.

Belfast based investigative website Detail Data has also found that the issue of housing intimidation has cost the Housing Executive more than £7.5million since 2012.

Information on where the majority of incidents have taken place suggests the involvement of loyalist paramilitaries.

Despite the number of incidents, the financial cost and the serious risk presented to victims, the PSNI has said it does not record housing intimidation in its own right, rather including it in an overarching category encompassing all forms of intimidation offences.

Detail Data was, however, able to use data from the Housing Executive and the Courts Service to reveal:

  • Between 2012/13 and 2016/17 the Housing Executive spent £6,709,430 buying 57 houses from homeowners forced out of their property as a result of paramilitary, sectarian, racist, sexual orientation and disability related intimidation.
  • The Housing Executive also paid out £808,174 in Emergency Grant Payments to over 1,000 householders who had to move from their rented homes due to intimidation during this five-year period.
  • During the period, a total of 2,060 incidents of housing intimidation were accepted by the Housing Executive.
  • A sample of data from the past two years also showed that the overwhelming majority of incidents were recorded in Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh, Ards & North Down and the Antrim & Newtownabbey council areas. A more detailed breakdown (eg by postcode, town) is not available.
  • Court figures reveal that 32 convictions were secured for the offence of ‘intimidation - causing person to leave residence/occupation’ between 2011 and 2016.

To read the follow story click here

To access the data that supports the story click here

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Places apart: Exposing huge disparities in Northern Ireland’s 11 new councils

The first story from Detail Data has been published today.

Examining disparities across a range of areas including education, health, employment, access to services and life expectancy and the resulting challenges for communities the story sets out a ‘league table’ of our local councils.

The data used in this project was sourced from: the Department of Finance and Personnel; the Department of Education; the Housing Executive; NI Statistics and Research Agency; the Department of Environment; and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Disparity in NI new councils
Download infographic (PDF, 2.5MB).

Key Findings:

  • The new councils have inherited debt totalling more than £1billion, equivalent to nearly £550 for every person living in Northern Ireland.
  • There is a difference of nearly 25% between the rates bills of similarly priced homes in different districts.
  • Derry and Strabane council area is at the bottom of the table, with the highest rates, highest unemployment (8%) and highest free school meal eligibility, plus lower levels of life expectancy and some of the highest levels of housing stress.
  • The gaps in transport infrastructure in Northern Ireland illustrate poor provision in an area running from Derry and Strabane, through Fermanagh and Omagh, to Newry, Mourne & Down.
  • Many other councils show poor results, including Belfast where poverty and overcrowding in deprived areas is blamed for low life expectancy and high levels of housing stress.
  • Antrim and Newtownabbey has the lowest level of educational attainment, with just 54% of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs (A* to C) including English and Maths.

Insight from 15 voluntary and community organisations highlights the impact of these disparities on their communities. Ursula Gallagher from Strabane Community Project, which operates within the Derry and Strabane council area, commented on the impact of high rates, high unemployment and high free school meal eligibility on the community, “We opened the [foodbank] services in 2013 and to date we have had nearly 1,600 people that have availed of the service. When you come to the foodbank it is your rock bottom. It makes you think how many people out there really do need these services”

Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive of NICVA said, “The data uncovered in this first Detail Data story shows there are significant disparities in a range of areas - including education, health and employment - across council areas in Northern Ireland. Holding our Assembly and Executive to account is what many of our member organisations do and this “league table” will help them do that more effectively”.
 

To read the full story by Cormac Campbell, or to review the impact of disparities in each of the different council areas, click here.

To access the data used in this story on the Detail Data Portal, click here.

Detail Data is BIG Lottery NI funded

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