“I would walk to the ends of the earth to ensure that child abuse is never swept under the carpet again.” said ‘Link Hands Against Child Abuse’ walker and child abuse survivor Barb Mullen. Ms Mullen is in the home straight of a 750km walk to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse and raise funds for child abuse prevention organisation Child Matters.
This Saturday, Ms Mullen is due to arrive at the finishing point of her almost month-long walk which has taken her from Napier to Wellington via Taupo and New Plymouth. At around 4pm on Saturday the 25th February she will arrive at Aotea Lagoon, Porirua, and take the final steps of what has been a huge personal journey for her. There is a record of her journey on her facebook page - Link Hands Against Child Abuse walk 2012.
Child Matters spokesperson Janine Evans says “It is extremely humbling to have someone do such a courageous thing and make such a massive personal commitment to keep our children safe. Just imagine the change we could make in this country if we had more people like Barb.”
A survivor of child abuse herself, Ms Mullen felt she simply must do something and was committed to doing something that would get the word out there that we all have a responsibility for stopping child abuse. “Everyone has a part to play in keeping children safe and we all need to speak up for children if we suspect something may be happening.” she says.
“I chose to support Child Matters because I see them as a focused organisation doing amazing work in the prevention of child abuse through education and advocacy. To make progress on this issue we must educate all the people working with children so they know what to look for and have the confidence to take action. A key focus of Child Matters is lobbying for compulsory training of all professionals working with children.” Says Ms Mullen.
This walk has been a huge undertaking for Ms Mullen, who says she has “blisters, on blister on blisters”, and has had to undergo medical treatment as a result. “The small amount of discomfort I have had to endure to do this walk is absolutely nothing compared to the ongoing pain and trauma suffered by so many children”
So where to from here for Barb Mullen? “I have enjoyed this walk so much, especially meeting all the wonderful people along the way. And I have been supported by an absolutely amazing team of special people. Who knows - there is a whole of lot NZ I haven’t talked to yet!” she says, leaving the door open to future work campaigning against child abuse.
A $3 donation can be made to Child Matters by texting 2451 or alternatively you can make a donation online on their website.