Wealden MP Nus Ghani has reaffirmed her commitment to ending violence against women at the same time as Wealden District Council takes a stand against domestic abuse.
Ms Ghani is an officer of the all-party parliamentary group on domestic violence and made her commitment in advance of White Ribbon Day and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which both take place on Wednesday, November 25.
The White Ribbon Campaign is a male-led campaign to challenge violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon signifies a commitment to never engage in, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Ms Ghani said: “Violence against women, whether domestic abuse, rape, sexual exploitation or trafficking, is a horrific reality for thousands across the UK.
“It is even present in Wealden, where last month it was revealed that the number of domestic abuse crimes had risen to 532 in 2014/15 and the number of domestic abuse incidents reached 742, many of those against women.
“I support the White Ribbon Campaign because men and women alike need to get involved in ending violence against women. I’m pleased that Wealden District Council has declared its intention to apply for the White Ribbon Award as a mark of its commitment to ending domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.”
Frontline staff at Wealden Council are to receive awareness training in domestic abuse as part of the drive to become a White Ribbon accredited authority.
Cllr Claire Dowling, cabinet member for public health and community safety said: “One in four women in England and Wales will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime.
“That is a frightening fact. We need to do everything we can to reduce the number of incidents taking place in the district.
“Some of last year’s increase is likely to be the result of an increased openness when it comes to reporting incidents, but it clearly is a significant problem which we must do all we can to address.”
Cllr Dowling continued: “There are still widespread social norms that can lead to violent behaviour against women and girls. Only by openly making a stand, and talking about it, can we start to address attitudes which can no longer be tolerated.
“Seeking White Ribbon status will involve raised awareness training among the council’s frontline staff, challenging the attitudes and beliefs which allow perpetrators to continue their abusive behaviour and encouraging people in the district to take the White Ribbon pledge: To never commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women.”
The council’s Housing Options team already works to prevent homelessness as a result of domestic violence and provides advice and housing assistance to clients at risk, whether in rented or owner-occupied property.
This includes the council’s Sanctuary Scheme, which offers additional security measures in the home.
When the council becomes aware of cases of domestic abuse, it works with other partners including the police and the East Sussex Domestic Abuse Service to help ensure the safety of the victim, children and others identified at risk.
Full council accreditation for White Ribbon status is expected to take three months. Wealden residents are being urged to support the initiative by visiting the White Ribbon Campaign website, and make their own White Ribbon pledge in time for November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.