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Warwickshire organisations launch new approach to tackle gender violence

wadaWarwickshire is showing its support for White Ribbon Day with an awareness-raising event at the Playbox Theatre, Warwick on 25 November 2013.

The White Ribbon Campaign aims to highlight the issue of domestic violence and abuse and encourage men to play their part in ending violence against women.

The event marks the launch of Warwickshire’s first ever Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which builds on the existing Warwickshire Domestic Abuse Strategy and provides a new direction for work in the county.

Sue Ingram, Domestic Abuse Manager at Warwickshire County Council said: “The new strategy affirms our commitment to the Violence Against Women and Girls agenda and strengthens our efforts to tackle violence against women and girls in all its forms.

“Women and girls in Warwickshire experience violence and abuse because of their gender every day, but hosting an event like this helps us to bring attention to the issue and generate support. The White Ribbon campaign is an excellent initiative, emphasising the important, but often forgotten, role that men can play in ending violence against women.”

Each year, around three million women in the UK experience some form of violence, including domestic violence and abuse, rape, forced marriage, stalking, female genital mutilation, sexual exploitation, trafficking and crimes in the name of honour.

Sue added “Violence Against Women and Girls remains hugely under-reported, with only one in four of those experiencing domestic abuse and one in eight of those experiencing sexual violence making an official report. It has high rates of repeat victimisation when compared to other crimes, and even when reported, the conviction rates for perpetrators remain low.”

There were 7247 incidents of domestic abuse reported to Warwickshire Police in 2012 – 13 and 23% of violent crimes in the county are classed as domestic abuse.

Ron Ball, Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is also supporting this new approach. He said:

“I am really pleased to see this change in direction towards a holistic approach. This is something that goes to the heart of the sort of society that we want to live in and everybody should be able to live their lives free from the fear of bullying, intimidation, harm or being forced to do things they don’t want to do.” He added “Tackling violence against women and girls is already a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and I can assure you that it will remain a priority in my refreshed plan due to be published shortly.”

The event marks the beginning of the global 16 days of activism against gender violence. Speakers include Dr Ravi Thiara from the University of Warwick, Warwickshire’s Relationships and Sex Education youth Council and survivors of domestic abuse.

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Facts and further information

An overwhelming majority of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is perpetrated by known men – family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues – as well as strangers. The cost of VAWG to individuals, in terms of physical health and wellbeing, is immeasurable. The societal cost of VAWG, in England and Wales, is estimated to be over £40 billion a year.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961)

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign dedicated to ending gender-based violence. The Center for Women’s Global Leadership is the global coordinator. The annual “16 Days Campaign” spans the 16-day period between International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) and International Human Rights Day (December 10) to make the symbolic statement that violence against women is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

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White Ribbon Campaign

After the École Polytechnique massacre (“Montreal Massacre”) on December 6, 1989, where 14 women were killed by an anti-feminist, a movement formed in Canada involving men wearing the white ribbon to signify opposition to violence against women. The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) appeared in 1991 in relation to this movement and became one of the largest men’s anti-violence programs in the world. It has now spread to over 57 countries around the world. It is now an international effort of men and boys working to end violence against women.

Its basic principle is the importance of men and boys to speak out against all forms of violence against women. The campaign is run from November 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) through 16 Days of Action to December 10 (World Human Rights Day) but campaigns can occur at any time of the year.

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