Foyle Women’s Aid was founded in Pump Street in 1976 in order to work towards the end of domestic abuse and sexual violence, through raising awareness, preventive educational advice and support.

Story by: The Newsroom

However, almost 45 years on, the elimination of domestic violence and abuse across the Derry, Strabane, Limavady and Dungiven areas seems as far away as ever.

Last year Foyle Women’s Aid saw a 25 percent increase in the number of calls and visits it received from women suffering from domestic abuse.

The upward trend can’t be completely attributed to lockdown but there is no doubt it has had a major impact on women who feel locked into abusive relationships.

Marie said: “We have a range of fully furnished and equipped one, two and three bedroom purpose-built self-contained flats and houses where families can live until they return to their own home, or move on to new permanent accommodation.

“Support staff will provide practical assistance and emotional support to families to promote independent living, encouraging women to take control of their lives and empowering them to break the cycle of abuse.”

A support worker will help women look at options in relation to accommodation, personal safety, legal issues, housing, income and budgeting, as well as physical and mental well-being.

The organisation also provides extensive services for babies, children and teenagers.

The Pod 15 Children and Young People Centre aims to raise self-esteem in children, young people and carers, build confidence, promote healthier life choices and offer a safe space.

The Sweet Peas Crèche provides a safe, nurturing environment for children and a range of activities to support mothers and their children from abuse to recovery.

“We are very proud of the services we provide for babies, children and teenagers,” said Marie.

“For example, with children in the creche, mothers can concentre on returning to work. Women’s Aid helps with providing support in writing CVs and interview skills. Through a partnership with Marks and Spencer, we also provide a suit which women can then wear to a job interview as well as a week’s worth of clothes to be worn at their new job.”

Meanwhile, Teenlink, operated by Foyle Women’s Aid, is a unique programme tailored to the needs of children and young people living with or affected by domestic and sexual abuse.

It offers one-to-one support for young people and group work programmes providing professional and peer support.

If you need any of the services of Foyle Women’s Aid phone 028 7141 6800. For more information visit www.foylewomensaid.org