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Stepping up to help women in need


Emma-Leigh Heighway is determined to make a difference for women suffering in silence from domestic abuse.

This Saturday 16 May, she has set herself a challenge to run 52 kilometres for the 52 women killed by a partner or former partner last year.

The event will raise funds for the Hunter Women’s Centre – a local service that supports women who experience emotional or relationship issues or domestic violence.

“I think it is absolutely disgusting, it’s beyond crazy to think that 52 women die every year from people that they love, who they thought loved them back,” Ms Heighway said.

She added that it is not just the physical abuse that can have disastrous effects.

One in four women have experienced emotional abuse, while partner violence contributes to more death, disability and illness in women aged 15-44 than any other preventable risk.

The coronavirus pandemic is also contributing to a spike in domestic violence cases and Ms Heighway hopes her fundraiser will bring some awareness to those in need.

“I understand that, with what’s happening at the moment, there is going to be an increase in people needing help,” she said.

“I should have been competing in a 100km trail race on Saturday, so I decided I could do something a bit different to raise money for a local charity that really needs help.

“I want to raise as much possible; I haven’t really set a target.

“It’ll help with counselling for women who have experienced horrible things that they shouldn’t have had to experience.”

Hunter Women’s Centre Manager, Kathryn Saint, said the organisation was grateful for the support.

“Hunter Women’s Centre will use the money donated from the challenge for updating  a few of our counselling rooms and for buying resources for the courses and workshops our clients attend,” she said.

“We hope to be able to get [them] up-and-running post COVID-19, in third term.”

Ms Heighway will livestream the event on Facebook.

She asks that you donate directly to the Hunter Women’s Centre and include her name or 52ks so the organisation can track how much is raised.

To donate to the service, visit its website.

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