The success of Grace House and the Cornerstone Building in Antrim is “a testimony” to the beneficial links between public and voluntary sectors.
The comment came from Health Minister Simon Hamilton during a visit last week to the Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCL&N) Women’s Aid facility which provides a drop-in centre for women who need help and advice on issues including their safety and security needs, housing and money.
The Cornerstone Building, which was added to the site in April 2013, is dedicated to providing services and support to children and young people who have been impacted upon by domestic violence.
Speaking during his visit, Mr Hamilton said: “Everyone should feel safe at home; tragically, many people in Northern Ireland face great danger at home from the people closest to them. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality and it not only impacts on victims, but also their family, friends and the wider society. The impacts can be long-lasting and can ruin lives.
“In spite of the increasing numbers of cases reported to the PSNI, it is widely believed that many more cases of domestic violence remain unreported. Unfortunately, victims often endure long periods of intimidation, abuse or violence at the hands of someone they love before they feel able to seek help, which makes tackling the problem much more difficult.
“Strong relationships between the public and voluntary & community sectors deliver tangible benefits to victims and their families. The success of Grace House and the Cornerstone Building is a testimony to that.
“I want to acknowledge the dedication of the staff and volunteers of ABCL&N Women’s Aid,” the Minister added.