Families of domestic homicide victims join Refuge to Walk4 a world without domestic violence

Slacks and Sandra 500

The families of women killed by their ex-partners have pledged to walk 10km across four of London’s most iconic bridges, to commemorate their loved ones and raise awareness of the fact that one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Celia Peachey and Manuel Fernandez, daughter and brother of Maria Stubbings, will take part in Refuge’s annual fundraising march, Walk4, on September 11th. Maria was murdered by her former partner Marc Chivers in 2008.

They will be joined by Melony and Hayden Slack, sister-in-law and brother 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.

Today, these families are joining Refuge to urge women, men and children to take a stand against domestic violence by signing up to take part in Walk4 2016 – and encouraging friends, family and neighbours to do the same.

Last year, Walk4 raised £87,000 for Refuge. These vital funds have gone towards the charity’s life-saving services, which support 3,800 women and children escaping domestic violence on any given day.

Celia Peachey, whose mother, Maria Stubbings, was murdered by her former partner, said:

“The fact that two women are killed by their partner or former partner every week is a national disgrace. My mum was one of those women – but she was so much more than a statistic. She was a wonderful person and incredibly precious to me.

“On September 11, I will be walking to remember my mum – and to show other women experiencing domestic violence that they are not alone. Refuge is there to support them and help them to rebuild their lives following abuse; something my mum never had the chance to do.

“I am also walking to raise awareness of domestic violence, so that it is no longer tolerated or ignored. My mum was crying out for help, but the police missed vital opportunities to save her. Had they been more aware of what domestic violence looks like and how serious it is, perhaps they would have done more. I want to save other families from the heartbreak of losing a loved one to this horrific crime.”

Hayden and Melony Slack, brother and sister-in-law of Rachael Slack, who was stabbed to death by Rachael’s ex-partner Andrew Cairns in 2010, will be joining the walk. Melony said:

“Hayden and I are really looking forward to taking part in Walk4 again this year, supported by our family. We will be walking to commemorate Rachael’s life, the life of her little son, Auden, as well as the life of her unborn child. Rachael was a devoted mother. She was beautiful, intelligent, funny and confident. She was a truly caring person with a positive outlook on life.

“Rachael was unaware of the options available to her, which would have enabled her to gain vital support and protection for herself and Auden. If Rachael had accessed Refuge’s services, she would have been able to make an informed choice about her own and Auden’s safety. That is why I am taking part in Walk4 – I want to make sure every woman living with domestic violence knows that they are not alone and that Refuge can help.

“I would urge anyone who supports Refuge’s work to join us on September 11 and Walk4 a world without domestic violence.”

If you would like more information or further comment on Walk4, please contact the press office on: press@refuge.org.uk, 0207 395 7731 or 07970 894240 (out of hours).

Walk4 will take place on Sunday 11 September, departing from Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth, at 10am – if you would like a press pass to attend the event, please email press@refuge.org.uk, or you can sign up to participate and raise money for Refuge here.