Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid Older Women Project

Many may view Domestic Violence as something that primarily affects younger women or women with children.

The Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid Older Women’s Project highlights that just as many older women are affected by domestic violence, have suffered long-term abuse in the home and often face more barriers in their help- seeking process.

We are very grateful to Olga Attwood from Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid who works with the Older Women’s Project for providing us with an article to share with our followers, entitled ‘Domestic Violence is Ageless’




Domestic Abuse App launched by Belfast Area Domestic & Sexual Violence Partnership


havenbelfastThe Belfast Area Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse Partnership have launched a domestic & sexual violence App, in conjunction with the PCSPS and Belfast Health & Social Care Trust.


The Belfast Area Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse Partnership is made up of agencies, organisations, groups and individuals, to include members of the legal profession, who share a common interest and purpose in improving services and support for victims of domestic violence.

On 27th November 2017, the Partnership launched their new domestic & sexual violence App, named ‘Haven: Belfast’ at an event at Belfast’s City Hall.

The App is free to download and is for anyone experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence within an intimate partner relationship and further provides information to various professionals who may come into contact with domestic abuse in the course of their work.

Life Law NI’s very own Karen Connolly  was involved in the Partnership’s Working Group for developing ‘Haven: Belfast’:-

“It has been a pleasure working with the Partnership on the development of ‘Haven: Belfast’.  The App provides an array of material on domestic violence, to include useful information on how to recognise the warning signs of an abusive relationship and where to go for support. 

There is information contained within the App of the various legal remedies a person has for gaining protection from an abusive relationship.   It will hopefully act as a useful tool for clients and legal professionals alike in tackling domestic abuse within our society”.

‘Haven: Belfast’ can be downloaded at the App store or on Google Play from today.

The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Mental Health

To mark World Mental Health Day earlier this week, Sarah Bruce & Dympna McKeown of Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid wrote the following article which very eloquently looks at the impact that domestic violence and abuse can have on a person’s mental health. 

We are very grateful to Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid for allowing us to share this piece with our followers:-

World Mental health Day_October 17_Blog1 (002)

If you require assistance in relation to domestic abuse, you can call the 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline, a completely confidential service, on 0808 802 1414
If you require any further information on the law regarding domestic abuse in NI, please feel free to contact us directly on 


LIFE BITE: Men’s Advisory Project calls for more help for male domestic abuse victims

apple-150579_1280The Men’s Advisory Project have called for more help to be made available to male victims of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland. 

The organisation has said that they have seen a notable increase in people coming to them for help – they supported 536 clients in 2015 compared to 294 in 2013. 
The most recent figures from the Police Service of Northern Ireland show that 3,104 men were victims of domestic violence between August 2014 and 2015.

James Knox, the project manager at the Men’s Advisory Project, has highlighted that the support services available for male domestic abuse victims in Northern Ireland are less extensive than for women.

James said: “While the PSNI’s gender-neutral poster campaign is a step in the right direction, there is more that could be done.  If there was more help available for male victims of domestic abuse it would save lives.”

To find out more about the Men’s Advisory Project,  read our ‘LifeSupports’ blog from them or contact MAP at

For more information on domestic violence, please click here or contact us here.

Protecting Yourself from Domestic Abuse: Advice from a PSNI Domestic Abuse Officer


Domestic Abuse is a problem within our society as a whole and an issue that the PSNI are increasingly trying to address.

Sergeant Joanne Eakin is a Domestic Abuse Officer with the Belfast Public Protection Unit within the PSNI.   In her guest blog for Life Law NI, Sergeant Eakin provides some useful advice on protecting yourself from domestic abuse.


Working as a Domestic Abuse Officer within the Belfast Public Protection Unit of the PSNI, I have witnessed my fair share of domestic crimes against both men and women.

The PSNI believe that domestic abuse should not be tolerated and that it is not acceptable in any shape or form in today’s society. Therefore, within the PSNI there are specially trained officers like myself who deal with those victims who are at a risk of serious harm due to the domestic abuse.

I believe that one of the most important things for any victim suffering from domestic abuse to recognise is when it is happening to them and to accept that they are not to blame. Here is my professional advice to those who are suffering domestic abuse or know someone else who is:

I want to escape an abusive relationship – what can I do?

If you are in an abusive relationship and want to leave, follow the advice below to make sure you do not put yourself in unnecessary danger:-

  • Seek legal advice. You might be able to get an injunction or Orders to protect you from your abuser after you leave.
  • Get immediate medical help for any injuries you sustain. Record and photograph them.
  • Take anything that will identify your abuser, such as a recent photo or car details, to help others protect you.
  • Be extra careful about who you discuss your plans with because secrecy will increase your success.
  • Take a note of emergency numbers and people you can contact (family, friends, doctors etc). Programme them into your mobile if you have one.
  • Prepare a bag with essential items, such as clothes, keys and money. Get extra copies of your home or car keys. Keep it safe or give it to someone you trust.
  • Keep important documents, such as birth certificates, mortgage papers or passports, in a safe location. If possible, take any items of personal importance with you, such as photographs or jewellery.
  • Talk to your children about the possibility of leaving and try to take them with you, whatever the long-term arrangements might be.
  • Plan an escape route out of your home and teach this to your children.
  • Keep a note of the family’s essential medicines and have an immediate supply available.
I know someone who is in an abusive relationship – how can I help them?

If you have a friend or family member who is being abused, there are practical things you can do to help them:-

  • Find out information about your friend / love one’s rights and the services available so they can make informed choices – for example, contact specialist support agencies such as Women’s Aid who can provide practical and emotional support.
  • Agree a code word or action that if he/she says to you or you see, you know they’re in danger and cannot access help alone.
  • Find out information for your friend / loved one so they can make informed choices.
  • Get some support yourself. You have to be strong if you’re going to be able to help them. Most domestic abuse services are happy to help with any worries you may have or provide suggestions as to other actions you might take.
  • Most importantly, don’t give up on them. You might be their only lifeline.

Useful points of contact

There is much support in Northern Ireland for victims of domestic abuse. If you are suffering from domestic abuse or know someone who is, here are some useful contacts:-

Police Service of Northern Ireland

For non-emergency calls and general enquiries, call 101.

In the case of an emergency dial 999 or use the emergency text phone by texting 18000

24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline

This line is available to anyone who has concerns about domestic or sexual violence, now or in the past. It is open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence. Please call 0808 802 1414

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. They work to end violence against women and children and support over 350 domestic and sexual violence services across the country. Call Women’s Aid on 0808 802 1414 or visit their website

Men’s Advisory Project

This is an excellent service for men experiencing domestic abuse. Call on 028 9024 1929 or visit their website

Your GP

Your local GP can offer help and support. Many people experiencing abuse believe that their GP can be trusted with disclosure and can offer practical support.

Social Services

Social Services can provide practical assistance and guidance to those suffering from domestic abuse. Contact your local Social Services office for more information.

Domestic Abuse is a serious offence which no one should have to suffer. If you are the victim of such abuse or know of someone who is suffering, please contact the PSNI for advice and assistance.

Sergeant Joanne Eakin│Domestic Abuse │Belfast Public Protection Unit

If you would like any further information on domestic abuse please contact us here at Life Law NI