Published: 11:42, 25 November 2021
Specialist training is to be given to staff to help end male violence against women.
Gravesham council has taken a stand and marked today’s International Day for Ending Violence Against Women and Girls by becoming White Ribbon accredited.
White Ribbon is a global campaign which encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.
To wear a white ribbon is to promise to never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.
The council is developing an action plan, which will include pledges to provide training to staff and key partner agency representatives, particularly those working with young people, to improve awareness of violence against women and girls. The aim is to prevent behaviours which make women and girls feel unsafe or at risk of harm by helping to change attitudes, and training people to feel confident about challenging and reporting unacceptable behaviour if they see or experience it.
It is also working with local businesses in the night-time economy to develop a Safe Place Scheme. Women and girls, or anyone feeling vulnerable and in need of assistance when in the town centre, would be able to approach any of the businesses in the scheme which will display branding marking it as a Safe Space. If someone has encountered a problem outside, they will have somewhere safe to contact a friend or relative or wait for safe transport home, and can be signposted to support services.
Other commitments include raising awareness of issues related to violence against women and girls with publicity in the wider community to build the confidence of victims to come forward and get the help they may need and bring offenders to justice.
There will also be an annual conference and social events for females to encourage debate, share experiences and encourage reporting and accessing of services.
Anthea Sully, chief executive of White Ribbon UK, said: “Our call to end violence by raising awareness, educating and campaigning to bring about change is greatly strengthened by working together with our White Ribbon accredited organisations.
“Our partners are able to engage with many thousands of people to change the cultures that lead to violence against women and girls.
“We are delighted to welcome Gravesham Borough Council as one of our White Ribbon accredited organisations. Together we can prevent violence happening in the first place."
Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham council’s cabinet member for community and leisure, said: “Members and officers of this authority stand as one against all male violence against women.
“I am proud that Gravesham Borough Council has become an accredited organisation with White Ribbon and that so many of our members and officers, myself included, have become champions and ambassadors for this important campaign.
“In partnering with White Ribbon, we vow to educate men and boys and work to change the behaviour of those who would raise a hand against women. It is not acceptable in any way of life.
“We will work with agencies and partners to ensure that all of us start from a position of listening, of hearing, of believing; that those who approach us do not have their concerns dismissed or minimised and that we should all seek to protect the women of our communities wherever and however we can.
“All women have the right to be safe mentally and physically throughout life, wherever they are, not just in the home but on the streets as well.”
More than 100 organisations have received White Ribbon accreditation, including councils, police forces, fire and rescue services, health authorities, housing associations, schools and universities. There is also a scheme for smaller organisations to become White Ribbon supporters.
Individuals can join more than 37,000 others who have signed the White Ribbon UK pledge and get more information online at whiteribbon.org.uk.