Women’s Aid gave a warm welcome to Health Minister Michelle O’Neill this morning, as she visited our regional office to hear about our work with domestic & sexual violence victims.

Minister O’Neill heard about the services Women’s Aid provides to women and children across Northern Ireland, as well as the valuable preventative work we do in schools to keep children safe and well. A wide range of issues were up for discussion, from protection of vulnerable victims like older and rural women, to the impact of Brexit on victims in border counties, and the impact of coercive control on the health and wellbeing of victims.

Minister Michelle O'Neill with WAFNI and Helpline staff
Minister Michelle O’Neill with WAFNI and Helpline staff

Minister O’Neill also visited the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline, which is co-funded by her department along with the departments of Justice and Communities. She spoke with helpline staff about the health issues affecting callers here in Northern Ireland. The visit was wrapped up with the presentation of the NOCN Domestic & Sexual Violence Practitioner Certificate to helpline worker Kathleen, who recently completed this specialist training.

Michelle O'Neill presents Helpline staff member Kathleen with her NOCN Domestic & Sexual Violence Practitioner certificate
Michelle O’Neill presents Helpline staff member Kathleen with her NOCN Domestic & Sexual Violence Practitioner certificate

We at Women’s Aid very much look forward to working with our new Health Minister, and are delighted that she has committed to prioritising domestic and sexual violence as core health issues.