Women’s Aid (ABCL&N) was established in Ballymena in 1998. Click here to read more about our history.
We offer a number of services providing information and support for women and children who are living with the affects of domestic violence and abuse.
Women’s Aid (ABCL&N) is an identified ‘Safe Place’ organisation.
Accommodation Support Services
Ruth House, Ballymena opened in November 2014. It provides a total of six, one and two bedroom apartments where vulnerable women and children affected by domestic abuse can be accommodated in their own self contained family living environment. This accommodation will be used for mothers with sons ages 16+, women with a disability, women not suited to communal living and older women.
Virginia House is emergency accommodation which is available to women and children experiencing violence in their own homes or in the community.
Women can access staff at anytime for support or refuge.
Facilities and Services
Each woman and her children are offered their own bedroom and communal kitchen, bathroom, laundry and recreation facilities.
Refuges have disabled access and enabling facilities are provided for families with particular challenges.
Regular house meetings ensure that the women can contribute to the service provided and can raise any concerns or share information.
Women can be supported by each other as well the trained staff and volunteers. Trained child workers provide a programme of activities for the children and young people individually or in a family setting.
Support is an integral component of refuge provision and is facilitated by a team of trained Women’s Aid workers. Each woman is allocated a key worker who will assess her individual needs and together with the woman devise a support plan in response to the identified needs.
Practical support is given to access other agencies and services ranging from housing to legal advice.
Floating Support Service
Practical and emotional support is provided to families affected by domestic violence who choose to remain at home or in a community setting through a floating support service.
The aim of the service is to help women, specific to their domestic violence situation, to maintain and sustain their home through making informed choices about their accommodation needs.
The main areas of focus are:
Addressing women’s safety and security needs
General housing advice and, in the event of a ‘move-on’, ensuring appropriate resettlement services for women. Explaining terms and conditions of tenancy agreements
Welfare benefits information, including housing benefits
Advocacy on behalf of women where domestic violence has decreased their ability to act on their own behalf.
Informing women of the availability of specialist services for example mental health / addiction, etc
To other supports, particularly those which promote / develop empowerment and self-reliance and form the basis of an exit strategy from floating support services.
Community Resettlement Team work in conjunction with the Floating Support Team to maintain and sustain women in their homes. They support women following crisis intervention who require support to implement future determination.
The aim of the Community Resettlement service is to support women, children and young people who have been affected by domestic violence to develop their decision making abilities by addressing the impact of domestic violence on self esteem, confidence and family functioning through a range of information, education, and training opportunities.
Community Resettlement workers co-ordinate, plan and facilitate the delivery of the training programmes for women.
They will also signpost women to services, internal and external to Women’s Aid ABCL&N.
What is Reconnect?
Reconnect supports women who have experienced domestic violence. Through a social and personal development programme you can meet other women and get support to move on with your life.
How does it work?
One to One
The Reconnect Worker will have a chat with you about your own story. Together you can discuss your needs and hopes for the future, and how best to engage with Reconnect. You can decide on a personal plan for your own development and recovery.
We will hold Reconnect groups in each area. Coming to one of these groups is a great opportunity to meet new people, make friends, experience new things, learn about yourself and others and have fun! You can find out from the worker when the group happens in your area and what time. Confidentiality is taken very seriously within the groups, you can be assured of sensitivity and respect when it comes to sharing of information and participation in the groups.
We will explore different aspects of personal development and participation such as: Confidence Building, Self Esteem, Boundaries, Coping with Stress, Friendship, Self Nurturing & Relaxation, Emotional Health & Well being, Healthy Relationships and many more.
Support is offered to women who need to attend court on any issue relating to domestic violence. The benefits include:
- Confidential support service
- Private waiting room
- Refreshments available
- Court support worker to clarify information during the process
- Someone who is familiar with court
- Pre-court visit if required
- Accompaniment to solicitors
Information and signposting
Access is provided to a variety of agencies offering services to victims of domestic violence:
- NI Housing Executive
- Social Services Agency
- Independent Advice Agencies
- Health Services
- Legal Services
Women, children and young people are referred to relevant internal Women’s Aid services. Having the right information and support helps to overcome practical and emotional barriers which can lead to disadvantage and isolation.