DOMESTIC violence is a pervasive problem across society, and now the hard working team at Fermanagh Women’s Aid (FWA) is on a mission to make support for victims just as pervasive.
In recent years FWA has run a number of very successful training programmes with local police and hairdressers in the area, which have led to many women being signposted to the services available.
FWA is now expanding its training not only to other professions, but also across a wider area, and is working with Omagh Women’s Aid (OWA) to do so.
The expansion is all thanks to funding from the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), and will allow FWA, along with OWA, to offer 12 training sessions as part its ‘Safe Hands’ programme.
Each training session will be dedicated to a specific sector, such as banks or pharmacies, while there will also be two ‘open’ sessions for any other type of business not included.
FWA training co-ordinator, Michelle Alonso, told the Herald the feedback from previous training programmes had been “fantastic” and led to referrals to the service.
“After the training they were able to signpost women to our services,” said of the salon projects, for example. “We’ve even had salons who have redesigned their salons to help women if they want to talk one-to-one, they’ve added an extra room into their salons.”
Ms Alonso said they were now keen to expand the training into other sectors, such as pharmacies, with the ‘Ask for Ani’ initiative was recently launched to give women a chance to seek help. She said the women’s aid training would help equip staff “with the knowledge of the reality of what domestic violence actually is.”
“The subtlety of it, the manipulative side of it, the mind games, and how it actually affects women who have been experiencing it,” she said. “Not looking for the obvious signs because a lot of it is very subtly done.”
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