A Sunderland women’s group joined forces with survivors of domestic violence in the hope their stories can help others escape an abusive relationship.
The city’s branch of Soroptimist International helped the women compile their experiences into a booklet, which will be made available at refuges and in hospital waiting rooms.
Domestic violence can happen to women and men from any, and all, walks of life and it must be stoppedPat Howe
The project became a reality with the help of a £500 grant from social housing provider Gentoo and donations through crowdfunding website gofundme.com – together with £1,000 they raised themselves.
The launch of Journal on Domestic Violence: Victim to Survivor – Our Journey took place at the Sunderland Marriott Hotel in Roker.
The event was attended by representatives from Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary, Sunderland City Council, Gentoo, Wearside Women in Need, and Impact Family Services.
Special guests, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC and Judge Judith Moir QC, gave speeches, with the evening culminating in a presentation by Anita Lord of Wearside Women in Need.
“Courageous women have written experiences as victims of domestic violence to become survivors,” Soroptimist International Sunderland’s president Patricia Howe said.”
“The journal will go into refuges, police stations, accident and emergency departments, and doctor’s surgeries, where it can be read by vulnerable women to give hope that there is a way out of an abusive relationship.”
Soroptimist International Sunderland decided to help members of a support group, raise money for printing costs, after hearing of their plight.
“Every now and then we come across a project that really touches our hearts and grabs our attention,” Mrs Howe added.
“The journal is a record of their journey from the horrors of domestic violence, to establishing a peer support group, which gave many of them the courage to get out of abusive relationships.
“Domestic violence can happen to women and men from any, and all, walks of life and it must be stopped. Our Peer Support Group now want to publish and share their journal in the hope that their story will give others courage, hope, the knowledge that they are not alone and, most importantly, that they are not to blame.”