Women's aid offers lifeline to rural victims of domestic violence - Gildernew ( 04/11/09)
10 November 2009
Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew has met with the Women’s Aid Federation NI to discuss their work tackling all forms of violence against women.
Women’s Aid provide support and refuge services for women and their children suffering from mental, physical or sexual abuse within the home.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Gildernew said: “Domestic violence in all its forms is a crime and I think we all have to work harder to tackle it from Government down to grassroots level. No woman or child should be subjected to violence and abuse in their home.
As a rural woman myself, I am always very concerned about the plight of rural victims of domestic violence. Many rural women in this situation can particularly feel isolated and distressed in the belief that they have no-one to turn to. Women’s Aid provides a critical lifeline to these women and I am very appreciative of their outreach efforts in rural areas.
“I am also very impressed by the work of Women’s Aid, many of whom are volunteers giving up their own time. A safe place is often the central concern of a domestic violence victim both for her children and herself. Women’s Aid are often instrumental in securing this vital peace of mind for those women involved. They provide an invaluable support service and very importantly, work to educate and challenge the attitudes and beliefs that help perpetuate domestic violence in our society.”
The Minister added: “I am fully committed to ensuring that my Department plays its full part in raising awareness of these important issues. In partnership with others we work to ensure that adequate rural support services are available for those women who need them most’.
Speaking after the meeting, Annie Campbell, Director of Women’s Aid Federation NI thanked the Minister for taking time to meet with Women’s Aid and said: “Women’s Aid knows from experience that rural women’s lives can be blighted by domestic violence, which is often compounded by a lack of transport infrastructure and isolation. Our 24 hour Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 917 1414 helps us reach out to rural women and offer help and support. We’re delighted to have had this opportunity to meet with the Minister today. We welcome the very positive reception we have received and the willingness of the Minister and her Department to engage and to work with us to eradicate all forms of violence against women.”
Notes to editors:
Women’s Aid is the leading organisation in the north of Ireland for addressing domestic violence issues and providing services for women and children.
The organisation provides refuge accommodation to women and their children suffering from mental, physical or sexual abuse within the home. Women’s Aid has 12 refuges here, and during 2007 /2008 a total of 1102 women and 896 children sought refuge through Women’s Aid.
Women’s Aid has runs the 24-hour Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 947 1414 which is open to anyone affected by domestic violence. During 2008/2009 the Helpline received over 27,000 calls, an increase of 14% on the previous year.
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