In photos – survivors, loved ones and supporters Walk4 a world free from domestic violence and abuse

Today (Sunday 27th September) hundreds of men and women took to the streets of London to raise awareness of domestic violence, at Refuge’s first Walk4 event.

Survivors of domestic violence, families who have lost loved ones and their supporters crossed four iconic bridges in London, to highlight the fact that one in four women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Walking4 those who were not believed

Couple with wig - by Julian Nieman

Over 300 walkers took part, including Hayden and Melony Slack, brother and sister-in-law of Rachael Slack, who was stabbed in 2010 by her ex-partner Andrew Cairns. Rachael was pregnant and her young son Auden, who was only 23 months old, was also killed.

Melony and Hayden Slack Sandra Horley and Stacy Banner - by Julian Nieman

L – R: Melony Slack, Hayden Slack, Sandra Horley CBE and Stacy Banner

Melony Slack says:
“Rachael, was unaware of Refuge’s services and all the different ways the charity supports women and children. Had Rachael been able to access such support, she could have taken steps to protect her life, the life of her unborn baby and her toddler son, Auden. We are delighted to be able to take part in Walk4 to raise awareness of Refuge’s work and support other women, just like Rachael, to keep safe and rebuild their lives free from the threat of violence and fear.”

Stacy Banner, whose mother and sister were murdered last year, also walked:

Stacy Banner says:
“On the 23rd of February 2014, my mum and sister, Lucy and Christine Lee, were murdered. The perpetrator is in prison, but I have lost my mum and my closest friend and will spend the rest of my life haunted by their deaths.

I am undertaking Walk4 for Refuge to raise much needed funds and to highlight the fact that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lives and two women are killed every week. These women are not just statistics; they are mothers, sisters and close friends.

I intend to scatter some of my mum and sister’s ashes at each of the four bridges I walk across. My mum and sister had their lives cut tragically short, they will never see these bridges again. I want to honour their memory and scatter their ashes to remind the world of their unnecessary and tragic deaths – and to help me build a bridge between my past and my future.”.  
Walking4 survivor
Walking4 women who suffer in silence

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says:
“I am very excited to be taking part in Refuge’s first Walk4 event. This is a brilliant opportunity to raise vital awareness of domestic violence – a crime affects one in four women at some time in their lives. Despite this shocking statistic domestic violence remains a taboo subject, so it is great to see so many people taking to the streets to bring the issue out of the shadows. I am especially grateful to all of our walkers for their fabulous fundraising – in this austere financial climate we need funding more than ever. Together we will be Walking4 a world without domestic violence.”

To support Refuge’s life-saving and life-changing work with a donation, click here.

Photos by Julian Nieman and Refuge