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Embargoed:10.00am - 14 December 1998 

A safe welcome for women and children

Ballymena Women’s Aid is pleased to announce the launch of refuge services for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.  The refuge offers safe accommodation and support to women from Ballymena and surrounding areas. 

Domestic violence is intentional and persistent physical and emotional abuse and this Ballymena refuge opens at a time of increasing concern for women’s safety.  Since January 1998, nine women have lost their lives as a result of violence in their homes.  Almost 100 calls from the Ballymena area have been received by the Women’s Aid 24 hour Helpline since January 1998. 

This refuge was planned and developed with Ulidia Housing Association.  Capital funding for the project was provided by the Department of the Environment.  The refuge offers 32 bed spaces for families including a wheelchair accessible suite.  In addition, women will share fully equipped kitchens and a laundry while young children have access to a playroom and outdoor play equipment.  Older children can have a room for themselves for study, music and computer games while mums will have a chance for some peace and quiet in sitting rooms.  The refuge will operate on a communal living basis and Ballymena Women’s Aid plans that a safe, friendly and relaxed atmosphere will greet women seeking to escape violent relationships.

At today’s launch of services, local community representatives celebrated the achievement of Ballymena Women’s Aid and Ulidia Housing Association in developing such an important service for the Ballymena area.  Much work has been undertaken in recent years to address the issue and crime of domestic violence and having a safe and accessible refuge for women is a vital part of the support required.  


Local agencies including the RUC, NIHE, social services and health visitors will refer women to the refuge.  Women can also contact the refuge directly themselves.  

Greater understanding of domestic violence is needed and will be achieved by all agencies working together to overcome its impact on the lives of women, children and our community. 

If you need support about domestic violence please phone


Ballymena Women’s Aid on (01266)  632136 or the Northern Ireland Women's Aid Federation 24 hour Helpline on (01232)  331818.


Notes to the Editor

·    Domestic Violence affects as many as one in every four women in Northern Ireland. Most incidents of domestic violence are perpetrated upon women by current or previous male partners.

·        A government policy document:     Tackling Domestic Violence outlines the issue of domestic violence and the response from statutory and voluntary agencies.  


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