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Women and girls: The Pathway Project – where it all began

27 May 2016

Today we hear from Kathy Coe, CEO of Pathway Project, about the personal experience of domestic abuse that lead her to set up a charity that now supports over 2000 people a year to enjoy a life free from fear. 

It was 11pm, my children were sitting upstairs on their beds with their night clothes in carrier bags. They knew we may need to leave very quickly. I wanted to give my husband an opportunity to finally do the right thing and leave the house so we could have somewhere to live. After seven years of abuse and violence we were scared, we were exhausted and we were about to find ourselves suddenly homeless.


Kathy Coe

The request to leave was met with scorn and more abuse. Our only option was to fight our way out of the front door and we managed to get into the car and lock it before he reached us. Friends gave us somewhere to stay whilst we got everything sorted out practically, but emotionally it took a lot longer. However, out of all that pain and anxiety came a new start. Not just for us, but for thousands of other families that Pathway has supported through their time of crisis.

Facing a life threatening and life changing experience is a great motivator and gave me a passion and drive to do something that would make a difference to others. I thought I was going to set up a small refuge and that I would dedicate myself to doing that. It took seven years to set up that first refuge but it wasn’t going to stop there.

Today I am the CEO of a charity that supports over 2000 people a year. We offer a range of holistic services that would have seemed unimaginable when I needed help. Our support ranges from refuge and helpline to counselling and group training, and from children’s and outreach services to drop in and legal clinics.

I am so very proud of this charity and most of all, the wonderful team we have here.  Pathway saves lives. Our team is totally committed to working with domestic and sexual abuse victims. We work with the immediate crisis, but we also make a long-term difference by helping people to find hope, and a future. We turn victims into survivors.

Sadly the need for our services has continued and grown but our focus is always on people not numbers. It is stunning to see how many women we have supported, but even more profound is to know the names, and the situations those women and their children have had to face. Behind every number is a real person who has faced the most devastating fear, and loss, but who has found the strength to keep going and to find a new way through life, and that has been a constant inspiration to all of us.

It is almost 25 years since we registered as a Charity and we have been there day and night for people who need help. With the support of our Big Lottery Fund grant we look forward to reaching our 30th anniversary and being there for many more women and girls.

If you’d like to know more about the work of Pathway Project, please visit their website or follow them on twitter


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    28 May 2016 6:45 am

    I think it’s wonderful the work charities such as this do for female victims of domestic violence and children too. However with statistics showing that 1/14 men suffer as a victim it saddens me to see the lack of support for male victims. I would like to see charities like yourselves doing more to support everyone who suffers, as male victims have very few places to turn for help.

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      2 June 2016 7:55 am

      Hi Jennifer
      Many thanks for your comment. Our other funding streams are open to males and females ensuring fair access to funding for men and boys.

      The Women and Girls initiative is borne out of the research and feedback collated by the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with the wider sector, that the needs of women and girls persist. On average, two women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner in the UK (DoH, 2005), with 1 in 4 women experiencing domestic violence during their lifetime (Scott & McNeish, 2014). 1 in 5 women, aged 16-59 will experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime. BAME and migrant women experience a disproportionate rate of domestic homicide (Southall Black Sisters and End Violence Against Women Coalition, 2011) and up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experiencing rape, domestic violence, stalking or other forms of violence (Coy et al, 2009). Almost 1 in 3 girls at school have experienced unwanted sexual touching (YouGov, 2010).

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