Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland

 
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0800 917 1414
 

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Women's Aid is the lead voluntary organisation challenging domestic violence in Northern Ireland.  We strive to create a safe and supportive society for women, children and young people affected by domestic violence. Women’s Aid provides refuge and emotional support to women and their dependent children suffering from mental or physical harassment within the home.  We encourage women to determine their own future, whether this involves returning home or beginning an independent life.   We educate and inform the public, media, police, courts, social services and other authorities, always mindful that victims of domestic violence are a direct result of the general position of women in our society.

 

The Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland has been in existence since 1978.  Belfast, Derry and Coleraine Women’s Aid Groups formed during the four years preceding 1978 and the Federation was established by them to facilitate further development.  There are now eleven Women’s Aid groups involved throughout the Province.  Our aims are similar to the local groups:-  The provision of refuge and ongoing support to women and their children suffering abuse within the home; to encourage a process of self help and recognition of the emotional needs of children involved in domestic violence.  The raising of awareness among all agencies and the general public seeks to explore the social context of domestic violence and its relationship to gender, and unequal power relationships.

 

Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland has a regional responsibility for the development of new and existing Women’s Aid groups, for policy development and for liaison with a wide range of statutory and voluntary bodies.  We are a member of the Regional Domestic Violence Forum involved in implementing the government policy ‘Tackling Domestic Violence’.

 

Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland is an excellent example of a ‘grass roots’ movement which has been able to develop the leadership and managerial skills of women in order to challenge attitudes, to press for social change, both in the allocation of resources and in legislation and to find imaginative ways to respond to this intractable problem.  Self help and mutual support underpin the process by which victims of domestic violence regain their self esteem and escape the damaging effects of abusive relationships.  There are currently over 400 bed spaces in fourteen hostels (known as refuges) throughout the Province.  These provide immediate safety and temporary accommodation to women and their children during times of crisis.  In addition, there are 19 ‘move on’ houses for families who move out of the refuge, but who require an intermediate level of support living independently, but with the resources of the refuge as a back up. 

 

In any year over 12,000 women seek help from Women’s Aid, of these about 1,000 women and 1,500 children are given emergency temporary accommodation, and some 400 women and 700 children will be referred to other agencies. (see also Women's Aid statistics)

 

Women’s Aid groups are currently developing a range of outreach, support and aftercare facilities from locally based centres.

  

 

 

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Core aims of Women's Aid Groups

  • To provide temporary refuge to women and their children suffering mental, physical or sexual abuse within the home.

  • To encourage the woman to take control of her own future, whether this involves returning home or beginning an independent life.

  • To recognise and care for the emotional needs of the children involved.

  • To offer support and advice to any woman who asks for it, whether or not she is living in a refuge and to offer supportive aftercare to women leaving the refuge. 

  • To educate and inform the public, the media, the courts, social services and other agencies, always mindful of the fact that abused women are a direct result of the general position of women in our society. Back to Top

 

Core aims of Women’s Aid Federation
Northern Ireland

 

1. Educate and inform others of the social context of domestic violence, in particular, the attitudes and beliefs which perpetuate that abuse.

 

2. Support and promote the core aims of Women's Aid.

 

3. Encourage the promotion of a self help ethos to achieve effective, efficient and equitable working relationships.

 

4. Monitor and evaluate our work to be inclusive and accountable to all communities of interest.