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The Secretary of State, Dr Mo Mowlam today launched a new fundraising initiative by Northern Ireland Women's Aid, at Grosvenor House, Belfast.  ‘Friends of Women’s Aid’, aims to raise much needed funds to help provide vital support services for women and children in crisis and to maintain the 24-hour domestic violence Helpline. The launch was attended by members from voluntary, community and statutory agencies throughout the Province.

Sian Erwin, Women’s Aid Federation
Northern Ireland’s Regional Fundraiser explained “The high level of domestic violence is a matter of grave concern for our community.  We know that there are a lot of people who recognise that and would like to do something about it.  Joining ‘Friends of Women’s Aid is a practical way of making a commitment to the work of ensuring that help is available when it is required and also supporting preventative educational work, which is the key to long term solutions.  The launch of ‘Friends of Women’s Aid’ coincides with Women’s Aid Federation
Northern Ireland’s 21st anniversary and the 1999 European Campaign Against Violence Against Women“

Joan Smith, from the Equal Opportunities Commission and Professor Monica McWilliams from the Women’s Coalition also endorsed the new initiative. Monica, a friend and supporter of Women’s Aid for many years said “I know from my own research that Women’s Aid has played an enormous part, not only in offering women and children refuge when they most need it, but in supporting them emotionally and psychologically during and after this time.“ 

It is also hoped that ‘Friends of Women’s Aid’ will encourage volunteers to form fundraising committees that will organise events and awareness raising campaigns. 

If you would like to find out more about ‘Friends of Women Aid’ contact Charlene Craig Tel: 01232 249041


LAUNCH of ‘Friends of Women’s Aid’


Tuesday 9th March



Grosvenor House Conference Centre

5 Glengall Street


The Secretary of State, Dr Mo Mowlam

Monica McWilliams, NI Women’s Coalition

Joan Smith, Equal Opportunities Commission

Angela Courtney, NI Women’s Aid Federation

Sian Erwin, NI Women’s Aid Federation  

Notes to Editors 

·        The majority of victims of domestic violence are women abused by their current or former partners

·        90% of domestic violence complaints to the RUC are made by women. 

·        There were 6,385 domestic violence incidents recorded in 1998.

·        Over 15,000 women contacted Women’s Aid in Northern Ireland from March 1997 to April 1998.  More than 900 women and almost 1,500 children stayed in refuge accommodation across Northern Ireland during those 12 months. 

·        Tackling Domestic Violence – a policy for Northern Ireland was published by the DHSS and NIO in 1995.  It outlines the roles of statutory and voluntary agencies concerned with working with women, children and perpetrators.

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