“In the 11 month period from January until November 2020, 50 people were victims of ‘paramilitary style attacks’ –

11 people were shot and 39 people were assaulted.

In the last five years, 389* people within our society have been shot or beaten by so-called paramilitaries who seek to control communities by whatever means possible, including violence and intimidation.

These violent criminals would like you to think that they are protecting ‘their’ community and that the victims deserve what they get.

But the reality is that those who carry out these barbaric attacks don’t care about people or justice or solving social problems. They are only interested in exerting control and exploiting our communities. They don’t offer protection; they inflict fear using shootings, beatings, drug dealing, intimidation, and protection rackets as a means to do so.

In many cases, attacks are carried out by appointment and threats and violence are used to get the victims and their families to turn up.

The victims of these attacks often have their lives changed forever.

Whether they are shot or beaten, victims suffer terrible physical injuries – they can spend months, often years, in daily pain and they might end up unable to walk or work.

The injuries are psychological too, and many victims and their families spend the rest of their lives living in fear. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety are commonly experienced by victims for years after the attack.

In some cases, victims, or those living in fear of being attacked, end up taking their own lives – with devastating consequences for their families and friends.

Those behind these attacks offer nothing but fear and misery. They aren’t protecting anyone. They are controlling our communities and they are causing serious harm.

Physical effects

  • Injuries can be catastrophic and life changing
  • Many victims suffer life-long pain and disability
  • Some victims are so seriously injured they end up losing a limb

Psychological effects

  • Trauma from the initial event and potential post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Pain management can lead to addiction
  • Fear on return to the community
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Alcohol and drug mis-use
  • Suicide – research has shown that sometimes people who take their own lives have experienced intimidation prior to their death

Impact on society

  • Costs to the NHS – a study in 2016 highlighted the costs of the initial Emergency Department treatment for those who are the victims of paramilitary style attacks. It also referred to the likely far greater costs associated with the fact that those affected have to keep returning to hospital for treatment for the associated physical and psychological injury
  • Adds to already under pressure NHS workload
  • Loss of employment opportunities due to physical injuries – for the rest of their lives
  • The family of a victim can suffer enduring trauma – especially children as they are often witnesses to the attack or the events surrounding it
  • Children of victims or perpetrators may get drawn into the same cycle of violence


PSA Stats:

Security Situation Statistics Report 2020/21

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Suicide Figures:

Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series 2016-2017: The role of paramilitary punishment attacks and intimidation in death by suicide in Northern Ireland by Sharon Mallon PhD.

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Cost of treatment:

Punishment attacks in Post-Ceasefire Northern Ireland: An Emergency Department Perspective.



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Intimidation figure:

The figure covers 2017/18 and was obtained from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Paramilitaries don’t protect you.
They Control You.

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