More than 20 years on from the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement Paramilitary groupings continue to exert coercive control in our communities, acting as a barrier to accountable local leadership and holding communities back from opportunities for social and economic renewal. Whilst these gangs remain active there is a risk of instability, with ongoing sectarianism, hate crime and criminality and coercion.
We believe that change at a community level is best achieved when driven by local people, passionate about improving their area and the lives of those who live there. Of equal importance is policy to address the systemic inequalities that make some communities more vulnerable to criminality and coercive control.
We have therefore made it part of our mission to influence policy change at a strategic level alongside our work to support marginalised communities by building capacity for community renewal.
Alongside our partners in Queens University Belfast we are supporting efforts to end ’paramilitarism’ through the provision of strategic support to the Executive Office as they deliver their ‘Communities in Transition Project’ and to the Department of Justice as they seek to implement a Benefits Management Approach across the Executive Programme on Paramilitarism and Organised Crime.
This includes undertaking research to assist understanding of ’paramilitarism’ both at a societal level and in specific local contexts, supporting policy makers to develop, deliver and evaluate policy responses and engaging with policy makers and strategic influencers to improve how we collectively address this issue.
Further details of this work can be found in the other pages in this section.