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Claire Sugden MLA Launches Christmas Gift Appeal

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‘I am pleased to be working with Causeway Women’s Aid to appeal for gifts for survivors and their families this Christmas. When shopping for your loved ones, please consider buying an extra gift for those in crisis due to domestic violence.

My main priority as Justice Minister was to tackle domestic abuse through raising awareness, creating new legislation and by supporting groups like Women’s Aid. I am deeply frustrated that I have been unable to finish this work, but it is important that we keep talking about this issue and keep supporting those affected by it.

Domestic abuse is an epidemic that can affect anyone from any background. People in NI have recently accessed services from as young as a few months old to an elderly woman in her late 90s. In 2016/17 nearly 30,000 calls were made to the 24 Hours Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline in Northern Ireland; the PSNI responded to a domestic incident every 18 minutes daily and; a quarter of all murders in Northern Ireland had a domestic motivation.

Children in the home are also victims of domestic abuse and violence. The exposure to abuse impacts on their health, wellbeing, education and development.

For survivors of domestic abuse, Christmas is clouded by fear, pain and loneliness. Christmas is the last thing on their mind, but they will still want to create a precious time for their families. Through this appeal, I want to help take some of the stress away from them. If you would like to help to by donating a gift, for example, beauty sets, handbags, candles, pyjamas, chocolates and sweets, toys please leave with my constituency office, 1 Upper Abbey Street, Coleraine. All donations are greatly appreciated.

If you are affected by domestic and sexual violence call 0808 802 1414 for advice and support 24 hours a day. You can also text ‘support’ to 07797 805839 or email [email protected] The helpline is open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence.’

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