Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland

24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline
0800 917 1414

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The Campaigning Years 

1978 was a significant year for Women's Aid in Northern Ireland, with Belfast opening a larger refuge and new refuges opening in Coleraine, whilst the Derry refuge opened six months earlier.  Despite the availability of refuge provision, the political climate in Northern Ireland at this time was largely unsympathetic to the needs of abused women and children.  The late 1970's was therefore a period of intense campaigning to extend legal protection and welfare rights for women being abused by their partners.  Progress did not always comes quickly and the significant advances during this period were gained primarily through the efforts of Women's Aid and abused women themselves.  Sometimes the outcomes were dramatic - a campaign resulted in the exercise of the royal perogative and secured the release of a young woman who had been given a seven year jail sentence for stabbing her father who had persistently sexually abused her and other sisters. 

Legal protection with an automatic power of arrest was introduced in 1981 although co-habitees were not included until 1983.  Housing policies were amended to include abused women and children as a priority category.  The financial position of women and children in refuges was improved to assist with the additional expenditure essential for living in temporary accommodation and for families moving out to set up home on their own.     next page

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contact us

Contact Us:  129 University Street Belfast. BT7 1HP  Tel:(028) 90 249041 Fax:(028) 90 239296  
General email: [email protected]
  For help and information, please call the 24 Hour Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 917 1414. We do not provide a  support service via email.


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Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland