By Bethany English
Over 500 women and children marched through the streets of Manchester to protest against domestic violence today.
Individuals and representatives of groups including Rape Crisis, Asylum Seekers Support, survivors of abuse, and feminist organisations took to the streets with banners, chants and whistles to raise awareness of the continuing issue of domestic violence in the UK and around the world.
The march was organised by the Million Women Rise group that have put on similar protests across the country.
MWR Manchester coordinator, Louise Bond, criticised the amount that is currently being done to tackle violence against women and children in the UK.
“Violence against women has reached epidemic proportions and this is unacceptable,” she said.
However Greater Manchester Police, while acknowledging that domestic violence is still an issue, insisted they are tackling it effectively.
Detective Superintendent Philip Owen of Greater Manchester Police said: “We have seen a reduction in the numbers of domestic abuse related incidents since last year, but we recognise the risk that our communities face, and we are working tirelessly along with our partners to help combat it.”
The March began at the Castlefield Arena, headed down Deansgate and finished at Piccadilly Gardens with speakers, more chants and singing.
The route was chosen across the busiest areas of Manchester to create maximum impact and awareness.
A Trafford Rape Crisis spokesperson who participated in the march said: “We aim to cause a bit of chaos, just enough to get noticed.”
Also attending was Sharon McGovern, bestselling author of Afraid which details how she overcame years of abuse. She also claimed the government does not provide enough support and funding for domestic violence support groups.
She now organises survivors groups, which put sufferers of domestic abuse in contact with others who have survived similar situations.
She said: “It’s important to let victims to know that they aren’t alone and that they will get through this, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Organisers were pleased with the way the event went and the support of the people of Manchester.