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Inaugural walk to EmPower Newcastle community for change

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A community walk, hoping to help break the cycle of domestic violence (DV), will take its first steps in Newcastle this weekend.

And, Novocastrians, young and not-so-young, are invited to don their joggers, too, for the inaugural Jenny’s Place-coordinated event on Sunday 27 November.

The local DV and homelessness service is optimistic the EmPowered Walk can educate participants about the important issue while, at the same time, raise awareness of how to access assistance for women.

Executive manager Marcia Chapman said Jenny’s Place initiated the concept to involve residents in the fight against domestic violence.

“Leaving domestic and family violence takes tremendous courage,” she explained.

“By sharing their tales of survival, our brave clients are keen to help other women who are living in violent or controlling relationships.”

Jenny’s Place assists more than 1,000 local women annually to escape from domestic and family violence.

And, one, Meg Dolan knows all too well the trauma of a destructive relationship, after breaking away from her abusive partner.

She’s passionate about making others aware of domestic and family violence.

“Coercive control starts slowly and before I knew it, I was deep in a new cycle of abuse,” Ms Dolan said.

“I didn’t see how quickly he had put himself in a position to control me.

“It was hidden behind things that most people recognise as acts of love.

“Jenny’s Place changed everything for me.

“They were always there when I had the courage to approach them.

“With no judgement, their support gave me the confidence that there was someone there to catch my fall.”

Ms Chapman sadly admitted domestic and family violence was widespread in the community.

“But, this is our chance to learn and inspire change,” she said.

“We want to recruit as many people as possible to join us in the attempt to break the cycles of violence.

“It will take a whole community effort to create a future where women and children can live free from violence and coercive control.

“Let’s empower each other and the next generations.”

Afterwards, from 10am until 2pm at the Newcastle Foreshore Carriage Sheds, there’ll be food trucks, entertainment by Amy Vee, Anousha Victoire and DJ Lily, a free slide, face painting, children’s tattoos and an exhibition, which features the stories of fierce and strong women who have walked the path and broken the cycle of violence.

The EmPowered Walk

  • WHO: Everyone
  • WHEN: Sunday 27 November
  • WHERE: Leaving from The Tree of Knowledge, Hannell Street, Wickham, and walking 3.5km to arrive at the Newcastle Foreshore Carriage Sheds
  • TIME: 8am, check-in and T-shirt pick-up; 9am, start walking
  • COST (which includes an event T-shirt): $30 (adults), $10 (children – 6-12); children under five free

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