Have you heard of The White Ribbon Campaign?
In case you haven’t, let me fill you in. The White Ribbon Campaign is an international project aimed at raising awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and supporting the improvement of services to reduce the impact on the victims and families affected by it.
What does this have to do with Chester? Well, this year, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) is supporting the campaign by organising an event that will see a 100ft banner travelling through the borough, asking individuals for their signatures and pledging their support to not commit, condone or remain silent about domestic abuse.
The banner, which has already collected signatures from schools, colleges, the University of Chester, children’s centres, citizens advice offices, family safety units, police units, the Countess of Chester Hospital and local councillors, will be displayed across Chester Town Hall on November 25, where a vigil will be held to mark the occasion.
And even though I am highlighting this event on the Women2day page, domestic violence is of course not restricted to women.
In fact, it affects one in four women and one in six men at some stage in their lives, with lasting effects on children witnessing abuse or being caught in the crossfire.
Sophia Knowles, CWaC’s domestic abuse projects leader, explains why the council is getting involved in this year’s White Ribbon Campaign.
She said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council is committed in tackling this issue. This year, the domestic abuse partnership is planning to increase its support for the campaign by involving more schools, communities and organisations with a local and borough-wide pledge to raise the profile of the issue, change attitudes and encourage people in abusive relationships to seek help.
“Our events will take place throughout the 16 days of action following International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25.
“Our local campaign will include raising awareness with students and teachers within Cheshire schools, informing young people about teenage relationship abuse and where they can go to access help.
“Teachers and students will show their pledge by signing a white ribbon which will be displayed across the front of the town hall to raise public awareness and mark this significant date and the ribbon will be displayed for 16 days.”
Sophia added: “We are also working alongside the university to increase support, with a focus on the students union and sports teams to raise awareness, change attitudes and sign their pledge of support to end domestic abuse.
“There are events taking place within the children’s centres across the borough, which will take place throughout November, where they will be designing white ribbon displays and holding activities for the families and children accessing their services.
“Our year-long pledge will be to work in partnership with councils across Cheshire. We will work to engage businesses in raising awareness and addressing the ethos of their workforce by taking active and effective steps to support victims within the organisation, challenge abusive beliefs and end abuse.
“This multi-agency, partnership approach means that our reach is widened as far as possible to ensure we can make a difference to victims and their families.”
- To pledge your support to the White Ribbon campaign, you can wear a white ribbon to show that you believe domestic abuse is wrong and will not be tolerated.
You can also visit www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/domesticabuse
White ribbons will also be available from the reception at Cheshire West and Chester’s HQ building.