A new Children and Young Persons Centre providing specialist services for families in the North West affected by domestic and sexual abuse has opened in Derry.

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People Koulla Yiasouma performed the official opening of the new centre on Friday.

It has been designed and built by Foyle Women’s Aid in response to calls from parents for help for their children.

The centre, which is called POD15, offers a range of services and programmes to support the families affected by domestic abuse to strengthen bonds and re-establish the family unit.

This includes a crèche, after schools service, and a range of activities and programmes for non-abusing parents and their children.

It houses also Foyle Women’s Aid highly successful Teenlink project, funded by The Big Lottery, which provides support to teenagers who have lived with domestic abuse.

Foyle Women’s Aid Director, Marie Brown said: “POD15 is about prioritising children and young people within the service. Women’s Aid believes that the biggest victims of domestic abuse are sometimes the smallest.

“Children who witness and are victims of psychological abuse suffer a great deal as a result and unfortunately are often ignored. This project has been designed to provide children and young people with the support they need, breaking the cycle of abuse by way of prevention and protection.

“An important part of our work is getting the message out to schools and every facility where there are children in this area,” she said.

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