A group of students stand together, next to a display about White Ribbon Day. They are preparing to make palm prints on a plain white sheet.
Wyke College students mark White Ribbon Day in 2021

White Ribbon Day event raises awareness of domestic abuse

Today (Friday Nov 25) marks the annual White Ribbon Day – a global movement to end male violence against women and girls. It is also the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls, and the start of 16 days of action around the world, concluding on December 10.

Yesterday (Thursday Nov 24) representatives from Hull City Council, Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership, Humberside Police, Humberside Fire & Rescue and other organisations hosted an event to mark the days, visiting Greenway Academy along with fire dogs, the White Ribbon fire engine and police car.

Students were able to talk about what domestic abuse and bullying means to them, and about the importance of respectful and healthy relationships. The day involved a range of planned activities, including an opportunity for students to sign the White Ribbon pledge

Cllr Rob Pritchard, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Crime Prevention and Culture, said:
“The White Ribbon campaign is about changing behaviours, improving reporting and supporting those who experience domestic abuse.

“By working together to host events like this, we are raising awareness locally, encouraging conversations amongst communities and educating people.

“But we also understand this problem needs more than a singular day of awareness. We have numerous, ongoing programmes across the city that support women and children experiencing domestic abuse, whenever they need it.”

Paul Anderson, Assistant Chief Constable at Humberside Police said: “Violence and abuse, in all its forms –a domestic setting, a party, a park, on our streets or in a school – will not be tolerated.  We need women and girls to feel safe and listened to in coming forward with reports of abuse and we need our criminal justice system to work effectively for all victims and survivors.

“We must start with addressing the perpetrators of the violence and abuse. We live in a society and culture where misogyny and sexism have been tolerated too long, where girls and women are over-sexualised in the media and victims are wrongly, often depicted as being somehow to blame for the crimes committed against them.

“This must change. We need to focus on the perpetrators of this violence – those committing domestic abuse, sexual offences and harming our children. Now is the time for us all to act on tackling this epidemic of violence against women.”

Maria Woods, Child Protection Coordinator at Green Way Academy, said: “Our children are taught in school that all acts of violence are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The White Ribbon campaign is invaluable and helps to reinforce our message of ‘Be Kind’ at all times. It highlights different forms of abuse which sadly some children may just think is acceptable.

“By taking part in this campaign we have had pupils come forward and ask for help and this is why we fully support all of the work that is done through The White Ribbon Campaign”.

During the 16 days of action in Hull, beginning November 25, organisations have set themselves a challenge to recruit 201 White Ribbon Women Champions and Male Ambassadors in acknowledgment of the 163 victims of domestic homicide and 38 suspected suicides of known victims of domestic abuse nationally between April 1, 2020 and March 21.

In Hull, Humberside Police respond to up to 1,000 domestic abuse calls every month and, between April 2021 and March 2022, Hull City Council’s Domestic Abuse Partnership (DAP) Support Service supported 3,124 women and their children. This is a 25 per cent increase in the number of victims seeking support compared to the previous year.

Hull gained White Ribbon City status in February 2015. Since then, the council and its partners have worked on city-wide anti-violence campaigns, including Hull Men Say No and Hull Young People Say No. In 2022 White Ribbon status was secured for a further three years. A plaque to commemorate this will be unveiled in the Guildhall at 1.30pm, December 1, by the East Riding of Yorkshire High Sheriff and Anthea Sully, CEO of White Ribbon. At the full council meeting on Thursday, November 17, the council also unanimously agreed a call to action around domestic violence.

The White Ribbon campaign was created by men for men, to encourage them to take more responsibility for reducing levels of abuse against women.  It focuses on the belief that change will only occur when men accept the part they play in order to make changes. The campaign recognises that men can also be victims of domestic abuse, however this campaign is particularly focused on male violence towards women.

Anyone can experience domestic abuse. It happens in all kinds of relationships and for any reason, regardless of age, race, religion, sex, or lifestyle. On a national average, it is estimated that annually 1.6 million women experience domestic abuse.

Sign the pledge here: whiteribbon.org.uk/promise. Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership continues to offer vital services to women, men, including dedicated support for anyone who is LGBTQ+. Call: 01482 318 759 or visit www.hulldap.co.uk. Anyone worried about their own behaviour can contact Strength to Change on: 01482 613 403.

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