Support the White Ribbon Campaign - let's end violence against women and children

Blog by Cllr Kath McGuirk, Labour Spokesperson for Community Leadership.

It is fitting that on the 23rd November, in the week that marks the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW, Friday 25th November) councillors on Barnet’s Community Leadership Committee will discuss a report on preventing and responding to violence against women & children. 

We will see women and girls across the globe campaigning to end the terrible epidemic of violence.

The statistics are frightening:

• Almost half of women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking in their lifetime. 
• On average two women a week in the UK are killed because of domestic violence
• An ICM poll commissioned by EVAW showed that 42% of young people know girls whose boyfriends have hit them and that 40% know girls whose boyfriends have coerced or pressurised them to have sex
• A third of teenage girls (13-17 years) have suffered unwanted sexual acts and almost one million children in the UK witness domestic violence every year
• Nine hundred thousand calls relating to domestic violence were made to the police in the twelve months to March 2015. This equates to an average of one hundred calls every hour of every day - 25% of all reported crime is domestic violence
• The cost of domestic abuse in terms of lost productivity, absence and staff turnover to UK businesses is estimated to be £1.9 billIon

I believe men have an important role to play in ending violence against women and girls. They can be positive role models for other men and boys, challenge abusive behavior or language where they see it, and question unhealthy attitudes.

That’s why I support the work of the White Ribbon Campaign – a group started by men who decided they had a responsibility to urge other men to speak out against violence against women, to work to end men’s violence against women. The wearing of a white ribbon symbolizes men’s opposition to violence against women and girls.

The campaign asks men and women to sign up to the following pledge:

“I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about men's violence against women in all its forms."

I will be raising the White Ribbon Campaign at the Community Leadership meeting on 23 November, and encouraging all committee members to sign up to the pledge.

The Labour Party also believes that we need to introduce compulsory and universal education programs on healthy relationships, work to support wrap around services in the council and other organisations to help victims to break the cycle of victimisation. 

At the moment there is no statutory requirement for all children to be taught about what a healthy relationship is, and what abuse is, and cuts have led to services becoming incapable of providing the services victims need. 

In the run-up to November 25th, I want to encourage everyone to take a stand against violence. Join me in signing-up to the White Ribbon Campaign: “I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about men's violence against women in all its forms.”

Information: 

THE WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) - www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/

- is the UK branch of the global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women. 

- WRC is an educational organisation that encourages reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action amongst men. 

For more information contact Cllr Kath McGuirk: cllr.k.mcguirk@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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