Free Period Products Consultation
In 2022, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed the Period Products (Free Provision) Act 2022. The legislation sought to ensure that period products are available free of charge on a universal basis in appropriate locations across Northern Ireland.
In June 2023, the Executive Office launched a consultation on how this piece of legislation would be implemented. The consultation asked three key questions:
- How can women, girls and persons who menstruate can access the period products they need free of charge?
- What period products should be available?
- Where should these be products be available from?
Homeless Connect response
As soon as the consultation was launched, we knew it was important that we made a response. Women, girls and persons who menstruate who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness are some of those who most need to be able to access to these products. Over the summer we sought to engage with two groups of people with expert insights to give on the issues raised by the consultation: people with lived experience of homelessness and frontline staff working on the ground here in NI.
Our Lived Experience Co-ordinator conducted a focus group with several women with lived experience of homelessness. We also sent out a survey with frontline staff in the homelessness sector who are a part of the Northern Ireland Frontline Network to ask for their views. Both of these groups of people provided a wide range of instructive insights which has informed our response. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to give us their views
One of our Frontline Network respondents captured the importance of the provision of free period products to those who are experiencing homelessness:
“The provision is so incredibly important to those who are experiencing homelessness. Often, if women don’t have enough money to purchase sanitary products for that month, they have to try “stretch” the length of time they use a pad or tampon and that in itself is both dangerous/hygienically not great. It drastically impacts confidence and there’s enough going on in their lives without needing to worry more.”
You can read our full response here.