WHITE Ribbon Day has been backed by Warwickshire Police and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Today (Thursday November 25) marks White Ribbon Day – the internationally recognised day where people are asked to wear a white ribbon to signal their opposition to male violence against women.
The campaign, which is encouraging as many men as possible to make the promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women, is followed by 16 days of activism against gender based violence.
This year’s message – #AllMenCan – was developed following the murder of Sarah Everard, which brought the issue of violence against women and girls to the forefront both locally and nationally.
Warwickshire Police says it has already begun work to improve how it tackles violence – particularly against women and girls.
Det Insp Tony Hibbert from the force’s Domestic Abuse Unit said: “Domestic abuse remains an appalling crime that causes devastation for victims and survivors, their children and their families.
“The White Ribbon campaign is a well-established and high profile event that enables us to shine a light on the issue and demonstrate our support for ending violence and abuse against women and girls.
“While we recognise that domestic abuse can occur in any relationship, and we are committed to always supporting victims regardless of their sex or any other characteristic, the overwhelming majority of domestic abuse is carried out by men against women and it is important to acknowledge that.
“The last 18 months living through multiple lockdowns during the pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for those in violent and abusive relationships while those who have not previously been victims may have also have found themselves subject to domestic abuse.
“The case of Sarah Everard earlier this year has also highlighted how we all need to come together to tackle violence against women and girls on every level.
“While being abducted from the street is incredibly rare, sadly certain categories of crime such as domestic abuse, harassment and coercive and controlling behaviour do disproportionately affect women and girls. In addition, we know they are also more likely to become victims of other crimes such as stalking where a perpetrator becomes fixated – often exhibiting behaviour that is obsessive, unwanted and repeated.
“For this to change, we need to talk about it, to make clear it is not acceptable and to encourage those affected to ask for help and support. No-one should ever find themselves on the receiving end of harassment, abuse or violence and anyone who does so should immediately report it.
“In Warwickshire, we have established solid foundations of good community, partner and police relations but all women and girls, alongside all other members of our local communities, have a right to feel safe, and know they will be protected as well as respected in every interaction with the force.
“It is vital that every possible step is taken by us and victims are provided with the information they need to make an informed decision. Whether it’s the first incident or not, we will always do everything we can to support them.
“We remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities from harm, responding to concerns of abuse, supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice. Please do not suffer in silence – speak out and seek help if you need it.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Philip Seccombe has joined more than 38,000 people in the UK in ‘making the promise’.
He said: “Making the pledge is a very simple act that demonstrates my support for a concerted effort to end violence committed by men against women. This is a real opportunity to get the message out that male violence against women must end.
“We can all make a difference by thinking of our own behaviour and what we are doing to call out sexist and harassing behaviour whenever we see it. A key part of the White Ribbon campaign is to encourage all men to listen to women and learn to be allies, so that we can end violence against women once and for all. I’m very supportive of this aim, as despite much progress in the work to tackle issues such as domestic abuse, honour-based crimes, harassment and misogyny over recent years, there is still much more to be done.
“I’ve made tackling violence against women and girls one of the key areas of focus in my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire and I am determined to see an even greater emphasis on tackling these offences and changing the cultures that underpin them. As well as ensuring we identify and bring to justice those that commit offences, with strong support provided to their victims, we also all need to act to call out this behaviour wherever we see it to create a culture where this type of behaviour cannot continue.”
The Office of the PCC and Warwickshire County Council have been successful in a bid for £249,000 of additional funding from the Home Office for a range of initiatives designed to improve public places across the county that women and girls have reported feeling unsafe in.
Mr Seccombe has also secured a further £200,000 government funding to sit alongside £100,000 from the Commissioner’s Grants Scheme for a programme which works with domestic abuse perpetrators to change their offending behaviour, focusing on therapeutic support, structured group work, individual work and intensive case management.
The funding also provides specialist support for connected victims, including therapeutic counselling and weekly group therapy sessions.
Warwickshire Police and Refuge Warwickshire can provide support any time. Call 0800 408 1552, email DVSW@refuge.org.uk or dial 999 in an emergency.
Visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk/promise to make the White Ribbon promise.