Domestic violence is a key issue for Suffolk’s Women’s Equality Party

Leader of the Women's Equality Party, Sophie Walker.

Leader of the Women's Equality Party, Sophie Walker. - Credit: Fiona Hanson

When women fulfil their potential everyone benefits. This is the view of Nikki Packham, chairwoman of the newly formed Suffolk branch of the Women’s Equality Party (WEP).

The group had its official launch on Saturday at Ipswich Quakers Meeting House with national party leader, Sophie Walker.

Ms Packham, who lives near Eye, said: “Women face inequality every day in the UK at home, at work, in politics and in public life.

“If we can bring an end to the injustices that women still face today we can unleash a huge amount of potential that women have to offer. That’s going to be to the benefit of everybody.”

The WEP launched in 2015 and soon became the fastest growing political party in the UK, gaining more than 65,000 members and supporters in a year.

When several people in the Suffolk area signed up, they were put in touch with each other via the party’s central office.

These members came together for the first time over Christmas and they have been meeting regularly ever since – forming a strong Suffolk branch which now has more than 150 backers.

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Ms Packham said the branch would work towards achieving locally the party’s six core objectives, which are:

? Equal representation in politics, business, industry and throughout working life

? Equal pay and an equal opportunity to thrive

? Equal parenting, care giving and shared responsibilities at home

? An education system that creates opportunities for all children and an understanding of why this matters

? Equal treatment of women by and in the media

? An end to violence against women

One of the Suffolk group’s first priorities is tackling domestic abuse in the county.

Sally Winston, chief executive of Lighthouse Women’s Aid, a charity that works with women and their children who have suffered harm at the hands of a partner or family member, was a guest speaker at a recent meeting of Suffolk WEP.

Ms Packham said: “For Suffolk it’s an important issue because we have a higher than average rate of domestic abuse in the county.

“According to Lighthouse it’s one in three women who suffer from it in Suffolk versus the national average of one in four.

“We want to raise awareness about it and make sure people know about the avenues of support that are open to them.”

Anyone interested in finding out more can visit the group’s Facebook page by searching WEPSuffolk or emailling wepsuffolk@gmail.com

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