CAMBRIDGE City Council is supporting the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November.
Internationally, this starts 16 days of activism against gender-based violence leading up to 10 December, the UN’s Human Rights Day.
Wednesday 25 November also marks White Ribbon Day in the UK. 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 has remained accredited ever since.
In previous years the council has held conferences on the subject of tackling the crime of domestic abuse to mark the UN day, but that this year’s planned conference has had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the past, the conferences have featured speakers and presentations from many partner organisations who work closely with the council to address domestic abuse, such as Cambridge Women’s Aid, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre and Cambridgeshire Constabulary, as well as the council’s own White Ribbon Ambassadors.
Cambridge City Council remains committed to tackling domestic abuse by working with partners locally and nationally in a number of ways.
Last year it became only the fifth local authority in the UK to be awarded the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accreditation. This accreditation is the national benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse, recognising that they are in a unique position to identify abuse, prevent it and provide help for people suffering its effects.
To achieve its accreditation the council had to demonstrate how it works to improve the quality of service given to those seeking housing advice, and support tenants, residents and council staff who may be experiencing or are affected by domestic abuse.
As well as the DAHA and White Ribbon accreditations the council works closely 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 young people against violence and exploitation, and listening to community needs and responding together to reduce harm.
In addition the council requires all applicants for new taxi drivers’ licences to pass a safeguarding and knowledge test, which includes questions about how to identify customers who are potentially at risk of domestic abuse, and how they can provide assistance.
Earlier this week the council held an online seminar for Cambridge private landlords, to help them identify cases of domestic abuse in their properties, and the help that is available to them to tackle it.
Cllr Nicky Massey, Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety said: “Sadly this year we have seen a rise in cases of domestic abuse nationally since the first national lockdown, but I would like to stress that even during this current lockdown victims of domestic abuse are able to leave their home to seek the help and assistance they need. Information about the support locally and nationally for victims of domestic abuse is available on the council website.
“It is a shame that we have been unable to hold our annual conference this year due to the pandemic but we remain absolutely committed along with our partners, to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
More information for people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence is available on the council’s website at www.cambridge.gov.uk/advice-for-people-affected-by-domestic-violence