• Avon Foundation for Women, Vital Voices Global Partnership and US Department of State come together to launch a Justice Institute in Belfast to tackle gender-based violence 
  • A quarter of all murders in Northern Ireland in 2016 and 2017 had a domestic motivation with almost 30,000 calls being made to the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline 
  • The Justice Institute will provide the tools for participants to identify, investigate, and better prosecute gender-based violent crimes

 An international training programme to help tackle gender-based violence in key problem areas across the globe is to take place in Belfast at the end of this month.

Funded by the Avon Foundation for Women, the Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence is an innovative and interactive training programme that provides participants with the tools needed to better identify, investigate and prosecute gender-based violent crimes.

Supported and implemented by the Avon Foundation and in partnership with Avon Cosmetics UK, Vital Voices Global Partnership and the US Department of State, the Belfast event will be the first ever Justice Institute to take place in in the UK.

Scale of domestic violence in Northern Ireland

Between 2016 to 2017 alone, a quarter of all murders in Northern Ireland had a domestic motivation[1], with Northern Ireland police responding to some form of domestic incident every 18 minutes of every day[2]. In this time the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline managed almost 30,000 calls (29,657) from people seeking help, including pregnant women and those with children[3]. Due to the prevalence of the issue and a real need for help in this area, as incidents reach a 10-year high[4], Belfast has been selected as one of the seventeen cities across the world to receive the course.

Christine Jaworsky, Director, Avon Foundation for Women, said: “Belfast was identified as uniquely well-suited to benefit from a Justice Institute not only due to its unique history of conflict and the impact of this on intimate partner violence, but also due to its network of dedicated advocates working tirelessly to support survivors of violence.

“Shockingly statistics show that police respond to an average of 60 domestic-related incidents a day[5] and that domestic violence in Northern Ireland is at its highest level in 10 years.

“In the past years in which Avon has funded these Justice Institutes we have seen some truly inspiring and promising results and we are confident that the Belfast training event will help participants bring justice to victims and contribute to bringing an end to domestic violence once and for all.”

In partnership with the Avon Foundation and US Department of State, since 2014 Vital Voices has implemented 17 Justice Institutes in 10 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Romania and South Africa.

The Belfast Institute, which will take place at the Merchant Hotel from the 27 February to the 1 March, will be tailored to meet Northern Ireland’s specific experience of gender-based violence, reflecting the regional, legal and cultural environment.

Participants will range from those involved in the criminal and civil justice systems – judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, and service providers – as well as women leaders locally, and NGO service providers.

Nicole Hauspurg, Program Manager for Human Rights at Vital Voices Global Partnership, said: “The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence in Belfast aims to engage allied advocates in Northern Ireland to collectively address common barriers to effectively investigate and prosecute gender-based violent crimes, where existing laws are not always understood or consistently enforced, often leaving women unprotected and their abusers unaccountable.

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate with judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, service providers and other dedicated advocates to support their efforts towards facilitating holistic responses to violence against women, centered on offender accountability and – above all – victim safety.”

Avon’s commitment to reducing violence against women

Following last year’s hugely successful partnership announced between Avon and Refuge around International Women’s Day to combat domestic violence and coercive control, nearly a year on the company is continuing to make strides to raise awareness and seek justice for those affected by domestic violence globally. On top of the innovative and progressive work the brand has done with Vital Voices and the US Department of State, the Avon Foundation has also contributed over $60 million since 2004 to support awareness, education, direct services and prevention programmes aimed at stopping gender violence worldwide.

From Mexico to the Philippines, Romania to Colombia, to date over 850 participants across 10 different countries have been trained through the Justice Institutes. In all, 96% of participants have reported a deepening understanding of domestic violence and sexual assault in their countries, and 95% have reported gaining a sense of empowerment to combat these crimes.

   – Ends –


For more information or to arrange an interview with any of the spokespeople for the Justice Institute please contact Linda Beers, Inform Communications  07884437376


About Avon

Avon is the company that for 130 years has proudly supported beauty, innovation, optimism, but above all women. Avon products include recognized and appreciated brands such as ANEW, Avon Color, Avon Care, Skin so Soft, and Advance Techniques, sold by nearly 6 million active and independent Avon Representatives. Learn more about Avon and its products at .

 About Avon Foundation for Women

The Avon Foundation for Women is committed to supporting issues that matter most to women. Since its inception in 1955, the Avon Foundation has promoted or aided charitable, scientific, educational, and humanitarian activities, with a special emphasis on activities that improve the lives of women and their families. Through 2017, Avon Products, Inc. and the Avon Foundation have contributed over $1 billion in over 50 countries. Today, Avon global cause programs focus on breast health awareness and prevention through the Avon Breast Cancer Promise, and to help end gender based violence through the Avon Promise to End Violence Against Women and Girls. Visit for more information

 About Vital Voices Global Partnership

In 1997, Vital Voices was created to make space for women to be heard. Our founders knew then what has now become a universal truth: that women are essential to progress in their communities. Our world cannot move forward without their full participation. Today, Vital Voices organization is the product of the women we have worked with, their insights into leadership and our changing world.

Vital Voices invests in leaders because they take the responsibility to improve societies. They strengthen laws, create jobs and defend political freedoms. Our investment in one leader impacts hundreds and thousands more. We partner with women who demonstrate leadership that unites and inspires people. They exhibit visionary thinking and take risks to innovate. Each leader in our global network believes in mentoring the rising generation and shares her knowledge, experience and influence with others.

About Voices Against Violence: The Global Gender-Based Violence Initiative

A public-private partnership led by a Consortium, including Vital Voices, Promundo, IOM and the Global Fund for Women, and funded with support from the Department of State and the Avon Foundation. The Voices Against Violence Initiative aims to ensure that victims and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful traditional practices around the world have better access to services, protection, and the justice they deserve.

Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland Annual Report 2016-2017


  • 29,657 calls managed by 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline


  • Police responded to a domestic incident every 18 minutes of every day


  • Domestic violence crime accounted for 14.2% of all crime reported to the PSNI


  • A quarter of all murders in Northern Ireland had a domestic motivation

[1] Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland Annual Report 2016-2017

[2] Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland Annual Report 2016-2017

[3] Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland Annual Report 2016-2017

[4] McKeown, Gareth. (2016/11/25/) Retrieved December 27, 2017, from

[5] Belfast: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (October 2005). Tackling Violence at Home: a Strategy for addressing domestic violence and abuse in Northern Ireland.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *