CAMBRIDGE City Council has once again been awarded White Ribbon status as part of an international campaign to end male violence against women and girls.
The White Ribbon Campaign works to engage men in speaking out about violence against women and girls, to challenge gender stereotypes underpinning such violence and to challenge cultures that lead to harassment, abuse and violence against women.
The council first achieved White Ribbon accreditation in 2015 for its work in support of the aims of the campaign, and it reapplies for accreditation every two years.
Work that the council has undertaken to earn its White Ribbon accreditation includes:
- Ensuring housing and support services are available for women and children experiencing or escaping from domestic violence;
- Coordinating healthy relationship workshops for children and a play about child sexual exploitation;
- Implementing domestic abuse training for council staff;
- Appointing male White Ribbon ambassadors to raise awareness of the campaign and help other men and boys challenge violence against women and girls;
- Engaging with local sports clubs including Cambridge United FC and venues such as the Corn Exchange to inform men about the campaign;
- Holding talks, training and awareness-raising events for residents, visitors to Cambridge, businesses, young people and others;
Earning White Ribbon accreditation is just one of the ways in which the council works to tackle domestic and sexual abuse and promote public safety.
Earlier this month the council recently supported Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. This annual event seeks to raise awareness and generate discussion about the unacceptability of sexual abuse and sexual violence in any form.
It works with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership which aims to reduce the harm, risks and costs associated with domestic abuse and sexual violence and to prevent these crimes occurring across Cambridgeshire.
The council is also a member of the Cambridge Community Safety Partnership which prioritises particular issues in the city related to crime, disorder, antisocial behaviour and more. Current priorities include safeguarding people against violence and exploitation, and responding to domestic violence, particularly against women and girls.
The council is a partner of Cambridge Rape Crisis, who offer support to those who have experienced rape, childhood sexual abuse or any other form of sexual violence. Among the other campaigns supported by the council is ‘Ask For Angela’, led by Cambridge Business Against Crime, which aims to keep people safe while dating.
In its role as a licensing authority, the council also provides safeguarding, equality and protection training for all licensed taxi drivers, to allow them to identify and respond to concerns about the safety of their passengers, including those who may be at risk of sexual violence.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “I’m delighted that the council has regained its White Ribbon accreditation which helps us to challenge male violence, and to spread the message that violence against women and girls in any form is unacceptable in any form.
“As a council we do everything we can to tackle sexual violence and domestic abuse, and we work with a wide range of partners in the community who are doing some amazing work. Much work remains to be done if we are to help eradicate it – but by joining in with conversations such as those initiated by the White Ribbon Campaign, we can all play a part to help achieve this.”
One of the council’s eight White Ribbon Ambassadors, Adam Moghadas of Cambridge Family Law Practice, said: “I became a White Ribbon Ambassador as I shared the vision that men need to involved in ‘calling out’ threats, intimidation and violence by men towards women and girls wherever we see it.
“It’s important for men to be part of the conversation about what’s not acceptable – in relationships, in a bar, on the street, in the workplace or online. Too many of us stay silent on the issue, believing that it doesn’t have anything to do with us. The fact that violence and abuse disproportionately affects women and girls – our daughters, mothers, sisters, partners, friends and colleagues – is a problem that we have to be involved in tackling. It is reassuring that Cambridge City Council will continue to be part of, and hopefully at the forefront of, this dialogue.”
Another of the ambassadors, Ben Szreter, CEO of Cambridge United Community Trust, said: “I have been humbled to be involved with the energetic and important work of the council on the issue of domestic abuse since being asked to be a White Ribbon Ambassador. It’s excellent news that the council has been reaccredited by the White Ribbon Campaign. The work that the council does to address the issue of domestic abuse in all its forms in our city is vital and extensive. This reaccreditation is testament to that.”
Adam Ratcliffe, Manager of Cambridge Business Against Crime, said: “As a White Ribbon Ambassador, I am extremely pleased to hear that Cambridge City Council has received reaccreditation of White Ribbon status. This really is testament to those involved within the organisation, whose tireless efforts to drive change and raise awareness impacts both internally and externally, and I am extremely proud to work in partnership with the city council to continue progress around this extremely important issue.”