Joint project with Womens Aid gets major grant funding


Big Lottery awards £900,000 grant to project for families affected by domestic violence.

Belfast and Lisburn Women's Aid (BLWA) has been awarded £900,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Improving Futures programme. This groundbreaking joint project provides intervention support for children growing up in very difficult family circumstances and their families affected by domestic violence, helping to transform their life chances.

Working alongside our Trust, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, and North Down & Ards Women’s Aid, BLWA will create a specialist team, which includes a Health Visitor, with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention for women and their children living with domestic violence when they are first referred to Social Services.

A joint statement from Carol Diffin, Children's Services Manager from Belfast Trust, and Mary Quinn, Sector Manager Safeguarding from the South Eastern Trust, said: “Having worked with Women's Aid over many years, this project is an opportunity to work together from the point of entry into Belfast Trust and South Eastern Trust's social services Gateway teams. This will ensure the earliest intervention for victims of domestic violence, including the children, to access a range of supportive services which keep them physically safe and emotionally secure.”

Health Trusts Gateway Teams

“Domestic violence has a significant effect on the health and well-being of women and their children. It is a significant feature in social work caseload and in referrals made to the Health Trusts Gateway teams,” said management coordinator Patricia Lyness.

“The most recent PSNI statistics, from April 2010 to March 2011, show there were over 23,000 incidents and over 9000 recorded crimes with a domestic motivation, while it is estimated that there are over 32,000 children living with domestic violence here.”

Patrica Lyness continued “We are confident that this innovative model of work will show good outcomes for children and their mothers and we are hopeful that in the future it could be developed in the three other Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.”

Innovative Project background

BLWA is one of 17 innovative projects across the UK and the only one from Northern Ireland awarded grants totalling £15.2 million from the programme which will provide up to £26 million for more joined-up and earlier support to families with multiple and complex problems.

The innovative team, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, will work with social workers across the two health trust areas to offer a range of services for women and their children that will reduce the threat of violence, support the family and help protect the well-being of the child and reduce their risk of being harmed and minimise the need for contact with social services in the future.

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