Pictured from left  – Minister for Justice Claire Sugden MLA, Marie Brown, Director Foyle Women’s Aid, Jan Melia, Chief Executive Women’s Aid Federation NI, Siobhan Porter, Apex

The Minister for Justice, Claire Sugden, MLA visited to Foyle Women’s Aid premises in Derry this week to learn about plans for a unique new service for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Foyle Women’s Aid director, Marie Brown outlined the plans for the One Safe Place project, the first Family Justice Centre to be opened in Northern Ireland.

The domestic violence agency has secured over £4m in funding to convert the Old Convent Building in Pump Street into a Family Justice Centre, an innovative response to victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

The project has just received permission to move to the development stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund process, which will further secure the future of the historic convent building in Pump Street which is currently at risk of dereliction.

Submissions have been sent by Foyle Women’s Aid to the Departments of Justice, Health and the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister for the final financial support needed to bring the project to fruition.

“This is a very exciting and innovative project which will change the way victims of domestic and sexual abuse are supported. This will be the first of its kind in Ireland and will lead the way in  future working with victims of abuse,” said Foyle Women’s Aid director, Marie Brown.

The Minister for Justice was shown detailed plans for the project which will see over 20 agencies co-located in the former convent building in Pump Street providing a full wraparound service for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

“One Safe Place brings together a broad range of specialist services, removing barriers and gaps in service provision. It is based on best practise and had has been tried and tested in the US and Europe,” explained Mrs Brown.