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Centre for kids affected by domestic abuse is opened

By Donna Deeney

A new centre to help young people who have been exposed to domestic violence has been opened by Foyle Women's Aid.

POD 15 was designed and built in response to calls from parents who have experienced domestic violence for a specialised service for their children.

It helps families affected by domestic abuse to strengthen bonds and re-establish the family unit, and offers a creche, after-school service, homework clubs and a range of activities for parents and their children.

Foyle Women's Aid director Marie Brown said children who are exposed to domestic violence can be forgotten victims.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Brown explained the Londonderry centre has evolved from the already established and successful Teenlink project.

"Breaking the cycle of domestic violence and working with children and young people who have listened to or witnessed domestic abuse in their home is at the heart of POD 15," she said.

"The young people coming through Teenlink worked with the architect on the design of POD 15. They came up with the name and they have been fully involved in this project.

"We heard from some of the young people who have benefited from Teenlink and advocate for it at the opening.

"We in Women's Aid believe that the biggest victims of domestic abuse are sometimes the smallest."

Ms Brown said POD15 is about prioritising children and young people within the service.

"Children who have witnessed abuse and are victims of psychological abuse suffer a great deal as a result and unfortunately are often ignored," she said.

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