YORK has received 'White Ribbon' status in recognition of its commitment to raising awareness of domestic abuse.

The development follows a year of hard work and is great news for the city, said Lord Mayor Julie Gunnell, who hosted a commemorative event at the Mansion House yesterday.

The White Ribbon campaign says it seeks to recognise cities and organisations that have demonstrated commitment to raising the profile and awareness of domestic abuse, as well as the wider issues of violence against women and children.

It also promotes support from men in prevention activities, increasing awareness and providing services aimed at reducing any form of violence against women and children.

Partners and supporters involved in York's achievement included North Yorkshire Police, York Retreat, York Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and IDAS, which runs a refuge for abused women and children in York.

Cllr Gunnell thanked partners and members of the public who had supported this campaign, saying: "The problem of domestic abuse and violence against women generally is not often spoken about and this campaign sought to publicly raise the issue.

"News of the status will also see the city seek to strengthen partnership working with a clear aim to deepen understanding and reduce incidents of violence against women."

City of York Council’s Director of Health and Wellbeing Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones said the status was 'hugely positive' news for the city.

"Violence against women and children is still far too prevalent in society and the city receiving White Ribbon status demonstrates the hard work that has been taking place to reduce these levels," he said.

"The uniqueness of the White Ribbon movement is that it encourages men to make a pledge not to commit, condone or ignore violence against women and making it the norm for men to say that there is never an excuse for violence against women. Work to encourage more employers and men in particular will continue in York as we strive to reduce the incidence of violence against women even further."