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Capacity crowd pack Canal Court for 40th Anniversary Women’s Aid Armagh Down conference

A capacity audience of almost 300 people packed into the Canal Court Hotel in Newry today (Wednesday) for the 40th Anniversary Women’s Aid Armagh Down ‘Be the Change’ Conference.

Guests heard from a range of phenomenal speakers including the internationally renowned speaker and author on gender based violence, Jackson Katz, who travelled from Boston to be part of the event.

The morning session heard a powerful personal story from entrepreneur, campaigner and TV personality Norah Casey, Presiding District Judge Keown and First Woman of Ireland, Sabina Higgins.

The conference also featured a presentation from Bernie McNally, Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Board, Northern Ireland followed by a production from young people and service users of Women’s Aid Armagh Down.

Delegates also heard a heart breaking story of the loss of a daughter by a local father. The purpose of the conference was to encourage leaders in business, sport, education, civic and community life to come together to invoke a societal change on the devastating impact of male abuse of women and children in our community.

Back (ltor) Presiding District Judge for Northern Ireland Judge Keown, Eileen Murphy, CEO Women’s Aid Armagh Down, Jackson Katz, Author and Educator, Donna Traynor, Conference Host. Front (ltor) Norah Casey, Entrepreneur and TV personality and First Lady of Ireland, Sabina Higgins.

Eileen Murphy, CEO Women’s Aid Armagh Down said: “49 women have been murdered across the island of Ireland since March 2020 in domestic situations, 18 of these women in Northern Ireland. These are stark and shocking figures as behind each statistic is a woman, often children, and a heartbroken family.

“Today was about bringing the conversation that this needs to stop out into the open. We have the power to stop this, but we all need to be part of the change.

“This starts right from how we educate boys and girls at the earliest age, about how to treat each other and in particular how to treat women; as well as how we teach young people about healthy relationships. We hope today that delegates had lots of takeaways and will think differently about relationships and interactions going forward.”

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