Govt. urged to step up for Derry centre

Marie Brown from Foyle Women's Aid. (1206MM04)
Marie Brown from Foyle Women's Aid. (1206MM04)

The Director of Foyle Women’s Aid has called on Ministers to help make a vital new facility for families affected by domestic abuse a reality.

Marie Brown urged the government to commit to the project during a debate on extending Clare’s Law to Northern Ireland at the Millennium Forum earlier this week.

Ms. Brown said that given the high levels of domestic and sexual violence in Foyle, and after clear evidence of the need to create a more integrated response, there was a clear need for Ministers to commit to the One Safe Place “as women and children are suffering and deserve more”.

Ms Brown said the planned new One Safe Place complex at the former convent at Pump Street in Derry was vital for ensuring a better, more co-ordinated service for victims of domestic and sexual violence. A business case for the project has now been lodged with various Ministers, and they are now being urged to add to the £4m already raised by Foyle Women’s Aid to develop the major initiative.

Ms. Brown said: “This serves two purposes - saving an old building in the Cathedral Quarter and bringing it back into public use and providing a vital and more integrated service in the city centre with open door access for people to walk in. We have already had cross party agreement, we just need cross party action now.”

Ms. Brown welcomed the discussion on Clare’s Law and said this was “part of a range of measures needed in terms of strengthening domestic and sexual violence policy”.

“Coercive Control Law is another element,” Ms Brown said. “All of this should be pulled together - it’s about lifting legislation already introduced in the UK and bringing it here now. We want to ensure this happens and that we are not waiting years.”