Emily Webb, Free Press Leader April 04, 2013


Hills woman starts Australia-first online support organisation PartnerSPEAK
Emily Webb, Free Press Leader April 04, 2013


WHEN Natalie Walker found child pornography on a former loved-one’s computer a decade ago, her life, as she knew it, fell apart.

The devastation of the experience and lack of appropriate support has prompted Ms Walker, to start an Australia-first online support organisation called PartnerSPEAK.

Ms Walker, who lives in the hills with her partner of several years, said the person never ended up being charged, despite her filing a police report.

“At the time of my experience, there were no services to support women in this situation,” Ms Walker said.

“The taboos around child exploitation are such that partners, spouses and family members can be completely tarnished by association,” she said.

Ms Walker said the organisation had a confidential online support community and also provided information on counselling support and helplines.

“It is such a shock for the spouses and often the first they know about it is when a police officer knocks on their door,” Ms Walker said.

“As a society we think we can pick who is a pedophile but the men charged include teachers, doctors, vicars, fathers and neighbours.”

Expecting her first child, Ms Walker said she wanted to tell others affected by this issue that there was hope in rebuilding their lives.

“I honestly thought I could never have children after my experience,” Ms Walker said.

“I went from someone who wanted lots of children to viewing every man as if they were a potential predator. You can get help and move through it.”

PartnerSPEAK’s launch is on Thursday, April 18, from 10am to 1pm at the Edinburgh Gardens Comminuty Room, Alfred Cres, North Fitzroy.

Panelists include Childwise chief Bernadette McMenamin.

To RSVP, email PartnerSPEAK.

For details go to the organisation’s website or Facebook page.