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Men urged to support campaign against domestic violence
MEN in York are being urged to make a pledge to help prevent domestic violence as part of a new awareness campaign in the city.
Businesses and organisations from around York gathered yesterday to discuss York’s bid to grant the city White Ribbon status.
The White Ribbon campaign urges men to speak out against violent and abusive behaviour towards women, and highlight the problems faced by women in society.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the council’s director of health and wellbeing, said: “Violence against women and children is still far too prevalent in society and we know that domestic violence can affect at least one in four women in their lifetime. We need men in York to join us in making the White Ribbon pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms.”
Coun Julie Gunnell, the Lord Mayor of York, hosted the meeting at the Mansion House, with guests including representatives from North Yorkshire Police Authority, York St John University and the University of York, York Hospital, York CVS, and local businesses.
Coun Gunnell who has chosen local charity Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) as one of her two charities of the years, said: “The problem of domestic violence and sexual abuse is often not spoken about and this campaign will publicly raise the issue.
“It will also greatly strengthen partnership working in York with a clear aim to deepen understanding and reduce incidents of domestic violence.”
Supt Phil Cain, of North Yorkshire Police, said that although figures released this week showed crime had fallen in the area by six per cent, domestic violence was still an important topic for police and other organisations to tackle. He said the new campaign would “ensure domestic violence in any form is unacceptable”.
Supt Cain said: “The White Ribbon campaign allows the city of York to raise awareness and confidence in the reporting of domestic violence and I would encourage the community as a whole to get behind the campaign.
Under the scheme, local businesses and organisations agree to raise money and awareness to combat domestic violence, make MPs and councillors aware of the campaign, and encourage men to buy and wear a special white ribbon to show their support.
Sarah Hill, director of the IDAS, said the campaign was “a massive positive step forward”.
She said: “This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of people across the city who are being abused in their own homes. Unlike other crimes, incidents of domestic abuse have not significantly decreased and in the last year we have seen an increase in referrals to our Outreach Project in York.
“We also know that many victims are too frightened to report what is happening and because of this, domestic abuse is still a hidden crime. The White Ribbon campaign is about everyone taking responsibility for tackling the issue and in particular it asks men to pledge that they will challenge other men who are violent to women.”
Anyone who is suffering domestic abuse or sexual violence can phone IDAS on 03000 110110.
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