Lyn Moffett – Ballymoney Community
Resource Centre
Defining Intimidation
Intimidation is defined as the process by which, through the exercise of
force or threat, or from a perception of threat, a person feels under
pressure to do OR not do something against his or her will.
It can be considered within a framework of three categories,
acknowledging that they are not initially exclusive, or discrete:
(1) actual physical harm;
(2) actual threat;
(3) perceived environmental threat.
In all these settings it is clear that the victim's perception of what is
happening is as important in determining responses as the intention of
the perpetrator. What is perceived as a direct threat by one person
can sometimes be dismissed as a chance occurrence by another.
1. Actual physical harm
The most effective and direct form of
intimidation is the use of force. This is not
always a crude, indiscriminating weapon, but
incorporates three main forms of violence:
 damage or destruction of property;
 injuring or disabling;
 and death
It is possible to envisage the form of pressure
moving systematically through these
increasingly penal stages until the intended
effect has been achieved.
2. Actual threat
The threat of physical harm falls just short of the use of force as an
effective form of intimidation. It is designed to induce fear of
physical danger. Although no violence or destruction has taken
place, the threat is sometimes sufficient to persuade its victims to
leave their homes or jobs, or in extreme circumstances self harm
or suicide.
This type of psychological threat can take many forms, from a
poison pen letter or anonymous telephone calls, bullets in the post,
stalking, graffiti in public places, to masked men calling at the door.
In today’s world social media is often used to bully and intimidate.
This sort of pressure, like actual physical harm, is directed against
specific individuals. It was and is one of the most common factors
resulting in housing movement and forced re-homings.
3. Perceived environmental threat
Specific environmental pressures include a variety of conditions within
one's immediate community which create a feeling of unease or an
impression that intimidation might occur, even though no specific threat
has been made: neighbours becoming unfriendly; children finding it more
difficult to find friends; silence in the face of anti-social behaviour or
intimidation; an increase in the number of political or sectarian slogans on
pavements or walls and an increase in other forms of territorial marking
such as flags and murals.
General environmental pressures result, not from changes within a
community, but from pressure on the community itself. These pressures
have been strong enough to produce enforced population movements, not
because individuals have been attacked or threatened, but because the
communities to which they belonged have themselves become isolated
and vulnerable. Eg – large scale movement of the Protestant population
from the city side in Derry/Londonderry
The Toolkit
Why do we think a toolkit is necessary?
 Research and development funded by
CRC and Ballymoney PCSP
 Steering Group - call for volunteers
Potential members of the Steering
 PSNI and PCSP representatives
 Good Relations Practitioners
 Women’s Aid
 NIHE and Supporting Communities NI
 Act North West
Potential Elements of the toolkit
Definition of intimidation and types of
 Procedures for reporting intimidation
 The impact of intimidation on victims
 Responses to intimidation:
by agencies
by the group or individual
 Supporting victims
 Directory of support organisations
A few examples of intimidation
Domestic abuse
 Elder abuse
 Cyber bullying and Social Media
 Hate incidents/crimes
 Workplace bullying and intimidation
 Neighbourhood conflicts
 Paramilitary intimidation
 Organised crime/protectionism
 Human trafficking and sexual exploitation
Next Steps
Steering Group meets 13 January
 Research for toolkit
 Conference on Intimidation in February
 Compilation of toolkit
 Printing and dissemination

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