New domestic and sexual abuse web chat service launched

Women’s Aid has launched a new web chat service for women suffering domestic and sexual abuse.

The web chat will allow women to access immediate support and referral to lifesaving, crisis accommodation and outreach services without having to pick up the phone.

Initiated by Foyle Women’s Aid and Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid, the service comes in anticipation of an increase in service demand as the current lockdown restrictions are eased.

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The organisation has campaigned throughout the lockdown period with their “At Home Should Not Mean At Risk” initiative.

They have been adapting to new and innovative ways of working and using technology, including web chat, which will allow more women to reach out than ever before.

Foyle Women’s Aid Director Marie Brown welcomed the new live chat service and said that it will provide a vital lifeline for women who are experiencing domestic and sexual abuse.

“Women who are not ready to make the call or talk face to face will be able to chat directly to a Women’s Aid support worker safely and confidentially,” she said. “They will have immediate access to the information and support they need to help them to make decisions to escape that abuse.

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“Even before the COVID 19 restrictions, we were aware of the difficulties faced by women living with abusers when looking for help. This a new, safe way to access support and essential services for women who are isolated and particularly vulnerable.

“We look forward to being part of this new initiative and the development of other services which will allow the Women’s Aid groups in Northern Ireland to reach more women affected by abuse,” she said.

The web chat is available every Monday to Friday 10am-12 noon at or Requests outside those hours can still be submitted and responded to when possible.