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Appeal for donations launched to help make it a safer Christmas for those fleeing abuse

By Deborah McAleese

More than 50,000 calls for help were made to a domestic and sexual violence helpline last year.

Both men and women contacted the Women's Aid helpline for support having suffered violence and abuse within the home.

One woman who phoned the helpline needed a safe place to stay for her and her children after her violent partner went on the run from police.

Another woman said she had been a prisoner in her own home during her 30 years of marriage.

"I was locked in for several days at a time, was unable to cook without my food being thrown at me, or to wash without my head being held under water," she said.

For Women's Aid, Christmas is its busiest time of year, with an increase in the number of people contacting the 24-hour helpline and seeking a space in one of its refuges. Women's Aid has launched a Christmas appeal for donations to help carry out its work.

"We need your help to make Christmas safer for women and children.

"The impact of domestic and sexual violence is devastating," said Annie Campbell, director of Women's Aid Northern Ireland.

Donations can be made through cheque, payable to Women's Aid Federation NI, posted to Women's Aid Federation NI, 129 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1HP. Donations can also be made via www.womensaidni.org/support-us or by texting WANI01 and the amount to 70070.

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