CAMBRIDGE City Council has retained the White Ribbon status it first gained in 2015, reaffirming the council’s commitment to ending 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.
Work that the council has undertaken to earn its White Ribbon accreditation includes:
- Ensuring HR policy/policies are in place that cover male violence against women and domestic abuse
- Implementing domestic abuse training for council staff
- Ensuring there are adequate support and housing services for women and children experiencing/fleeing domestic abuse
- Appointing male White Ribbon ambassadors to raise awareness of the campaign and help other men and boys challenge violence against women and girls
- Raising awareness by holding events such as a domestic abuse conference to mark 25 November which is White Ribbon Day and the United Nations International Day to End Male Violence Against Women
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.
Cambridge City Council became only the fifth local authority in the UK to be awarded the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accreditation in December 2019.
The DAHA accreditation is the national benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse, recognising that housing providers are in a unique position to identify abuse, prevent it and provide help for people suffering its effects.
To achieve its DAHA accreditation the council has had to demonstrate how it is improving the quality of service given to those seeking housing advice, and supporting tenants, residents and council staff who may be experiencing domestic abuse.
As part of the council’s DAHA accreditation it is strengthening its approach to managing perpetrators of domestic abuse using or wishing to use the council’s Housing Services.
It has developed new documents to guide the council’s approach to managing perpetrators of domestic abuse – an approach which encompasses:
- How to bar perpetrators from the council’s housing register in line with Cambridge City Council’s Lettings Policy
- Guidance for staff on building a strong case and the evidence required to pursue enforcement action against perpetrators
- Signposting to external specialist legal services and options for providing sole tenancies to survivors where a court order has not been obtained
- Reinstating survivors in tenancies under the same terms as their previous tenancy
In addition to its White Ribbon and DAHA accreditations, the council 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 young people against violence and exploitation, and listening to community needs and responding together to reduce harm.
The council is a partner of Cambridge Rape Crisis, which offers 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 Nicky Massey, Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety, who also chairs the Cambridge Community Forum on Domestic and Sexual Violence/Abuse, said: “I’m very pleased that the council has retained its White Ribbon accreditation which helps us to challenge male violence, reiterate how unacceptable it is and appeal to men to do more to challenge it.
“The fact that cases of domestic abuse have risen during the pandemic, and last week’s shocking news about Sarah Everard, show that so much more needs to be done to end male violence against women.
“I would urge all men and women to look into the White Ribbon Campaign and to really do more to tackle this appalling scourge of violence that persists in our country and around the world.”
One of the council’s White Ribbon Ambassadors, Cllr Russ McPherson, Mayor of Cambridge, said: “I am very proud to have been a White Ribbon Ambassador for the past six years. This is such an important campaign which deserves all the support and recognition possible for the amazing work it does in raising the issue of women’s safety.
“So we celebrate the huge amount of work and dedication of officers at Cambridge City Council in securing our re-accreditation for a further three years as a member of the White Ribbon campaign and I look forward to supporting White Ribbon for many years to come. Perhaps you can do something to help as well.”
For more information on addressing domestic abuse and sexual violence, including help and advice for people affected by it, is available on the council’s website at www.cambridge.gov.uk/advice-for-people-affected-by-domestic-violence
For more details of the White Ribbon campaign visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk