Take the Sunshine Walk in support of Women’s Aid

Lough Shore, Antrim
Lough Shore, Antrim

During 2016-2017 alone almost 30,000 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded throughout the province.

Such statistics may leave some people wondering what they can do to support the victims behind such numbers who have been affected by domestic violence, locally and across Northern Ireland.

Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ANBCL) are asking the public to show support and join them in walking together against domestic violence on Saturday, September 2, when they will host the sponsored ‘Sunshine Walk’ at Lough Shore Park.

Women’s Aid is a voluntary organisation which aims to address domestic and sexual violence and providing services for women and children and Women’s Aid ANBCL is one of nine local Women’s Aid groups which each offer a range of specialist services to women, children and young people who have experienced domestic violence.

Lorna Dougherty, Fundraising Coordinator, said: “We are hoping that individuals, families and groups will join us for this walk to support Women’s Aid, raise funds to sustain and further develop preventative support programmes and projects for women, children and young people affected by domestic violence.

“The Lough Shore route is family friendly and accessible to people of all abilities with all or part of the walk being completed, at their own pace, whether they are experienced walkers or a family enjoying a gentle stroll.

“We’re hoping that all participants enjoy the walk and have fun, but we also want to highlight the impact of domestic violence on families and encourage more people affected by it to seek help.”

Lorna added: “The need for more awareness about domestic violence is seen in the staggering domestic violence statistics published by PSNI 2016/17.

“During this year 29,166 domestic abuse incidents were recorded throughout Northern Ireland, representing an overall increase of 2.7 per cent on the previous year and the highest level recorded since the data collection began in 2004/05.

“Alongside maintaining crisis accommodation and community based support services, we also need to increase our focus on preventative work across local communities,” said Lorna.

She added: “Domestic violence can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

“Events like the sponsored Sunshine Walk give a great opportunity to support people living with the impact of domestic violence and ensure that preventative education, awareness and support services continue to be available for those in need. We hope that you can join us,” said Lorna.

Anyone who would like to register their interest in the Sunshine Walk and receive an information pack, can email admin@womensaidabcln.org or call 028 2563 2136.