30/09/2011

Beware 'One Punch' Death Threat: PSNI

A shocking 18 victims have been killed in Northern Ireland from so-called 'one-punch attacks' in the past seven years.

The police have this week highlighted the risks of getting involved in an argument or fight that could lead to serious injury or death.

The PSNI launched a new poster campaign to raise awareness of the issue earlier this week.

Targeted at men aged 18-25, it highlights the risks of getting involved in an argument or fight, which could ultimately lead to serious injury or death.

Speaking at the launch of the 'One Punch' initiative, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter said: "Our figures show that over the past seven years (2004 – 2011) 18 people have died as a result of one punch attacks and many more have been seriously injured.

"With just one punch, lives have been destroyed and families lives have been wrecked.

"The majority of these incidents are fuelled by alcohol and can have a devastating impact a victim, their family and for the offender, who will likely face a murder or manslaughter charge and have a criminal record for the rest of their life," she added.
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DCI Baxter continued: "Raising awareness of One Punch is timely given the number of students and young people who are embarking on a new term at college or university across towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

"As Halloween and the festive season approaches it is a very busy time socially for people - our message is to enjoy their night out, but most importantly - to stay safe."

Endorsing the initiative Clinical Director for Emergency Care for the Belfast Health Trust Dr Russell McLaughlin said: "I have been treating the victims of injury for many years and unfortunately I am all too aware of the potentially fatal consequences of a single blow to the head.

"This campaign has the potential to save lives and prevent disability in young adults who unfortunately tend to be the victims of serious injury and assault."

Also supporting the campaign Chief Executive of Victim Support NI, Susan Reid said: "We see the consequences of these thoughtless acts and we understand how far-reaching the impact can be for victims, their families and friends as well as people who witness the incidents.

"We wish it didn't happen but if it does we are here to help people with support, practical help and any information they need."

(BMcC/GK)

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