Women’s Aid is the lead voluntary organisation in Northern Ireland addressing domestic and sexual violence and providing services for women and children.
The organisation wants to address domestic abuse in its early stages to help prevent it from escalating and having a lasting negative impact on a person, their self-esteem, their job/livelihood, their relationships with their children, family and friends, etc. The group also feel it’s important to provide information about non-physical forms of abuse, which many women may not be fully aware of.
Women who use Women’s Aid’s services have often told the organisation that they didn’t realise their relationship was abusive until the situation had reached a very advanced stage, so it’s important to offer a very early intervention tool that can help people to recognise the very “warning signs” of behaviours that may be abusive or controlling manifesting in their relationship.
It’s also important that people who seek information – whether it’s for themselves, a friend/family member or as a practitioner – are able to quickly find relevant information and to reach out to Women’s Aid easily for further support.
The Challenge: Working with Aerona Software, Women’s Aid seek to develop an interactive portal that will allow people to get information about healthy relationships and domestic violence/abuse, as well as information about the help and support that is available to them if they are in an abusive relationship.
The Solution: This would be a tool for a number of different users: people having concerns about their own relationship, people who have concerns about the relationship of someone close to them, and practitioners working with clients they think may be experiencing domestic abuse, such as doctors, teachers, social workers, etc. This portal will be an interactive, informative site where people can safely find answers to their questions about healthy/unhealthy relationship behaviours and start to think about/understand their own situation or that of a friend/client.
Security and privacy is a major concern to this project, as users want to feel safe and secure when online so there will be additional helpful guides and tools that will help make the user feel safe while they visit the site. The portal may include a communicate tool, where the user has the ability to contact a member of Women’s Aid support staff using their confidential email support service.