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’

olderwomen

DVhelplineIF YOU REQUIRE ASSISTANCE IN RELATION TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR 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 INFO@FHANNA.CO.UK 

 

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 info@fhanna.co.uk 

 

Women’s Aid: Don’t Silence the Violence

Here is a short film entitled ‘Don’t Silence The Violence’ that was launched by Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN) last year to raise awareness of domestic violence.  

It’s aim? Quite simply to challenge and break down the barriers that result in women staying in abusive relationships and keeping silent about their abuse. 

Check out our article on domestic abuse for help in getting protection from an abusive partner or contact Claire or Karen for assistance.

Women’s Aid: Helping Healing

A woman walks into my office. She is quiet… she seems nervous and fidgety.  She shakes my hand weakly and shuffles into the chair. 

I introduce myself, take some basic details – name, address…that sort of thing. She appears reluctant to give me much information… there’s no eye contact, one line answers – she’s almost looking over her shoulder. She looks uncomfortable.

I start to ask how I can help her. She’s having problems with her partner.

“He’s not a bad man” she tells me. “He just sometimes gets angry”. He can call her the most awful of names when he’s angry she tells me. Sometimes the kids are there and can hear him shout at her. She tries her best not to annoy him but her best is never good enough.

He’s hit her once before. More than once, in fact. “Lost count” she admits.

She feels isolated and alone. She needs to get away from this, to stop feeling afraid, but doesn’t know how or even where to start.

Fast forward a few months…

The same lady walks into my office. Head held higher, more confidence in her voice. More open to talk and communicate.

I comment on the positive change I can clearly see in her. She tells me she’s been going to a Women’s Aid group. That she can see things more clearly now – the violence, the abuse, the fear…. all used as a means of controlling her. She feels stronger for seeing this.

She’s met other women at her group who have lived through similar experiences. Everyone tells their stories. She has realised that she is not the only one, that she is not alone. And what a weight has been lifted to know that.

This could be the story of any woman who has engaged the support of Women’s Aid. Certainly any woman I have met who has sought help from Women’s Aid have only had positive things to say about the organisation.

In my own dealings as a lawyer working with various support workers throughout the Women’s Aid organisation, I have seen the positive changes that their involvement brings to women.

So, what is Women’s Aid??

Women’s Aid is a leading voluntary organisation addressing domestic abuse and violence and providing services for women and children.

There are local Women’s Aid groups throughout Northern Ireland who deliver services to women within their local area. We have signposted these local groups here for you.

How can Women’s Aid help me?

If you are or have been the victim of domestic abuse or violence, Women’s Aid provides many services which may be of support to you including the following:-

  • Refuge accommodation for you and your children if you are suffering domestic abuse within your home and need a safe place to stay.
  • Emotional and practical support on legal, welfare, housing and money issues and making safer arrangements for you and your children
  • Support groups and programmes to allow you to talk about and explore your experiences with other women in similar situations.
  • A 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence helpline providing you with free and confidential support and advice.

It can be hard to pick up the phone for the first time. In fact it is only the first step in a long and difficult journey. However, it is good to know that with organisations like Women’s Aid, this is a journey that you do not have to take alone.

You can contact Women’s Aid via their website www.womensaidni.org

At Life Law NI, we want to hear about your experiences of support organisations who have helped you during your time of need. Contact Claire or me through Life Law NI to let us hear your stories.

Karen