Thursday, 28 November 2013

Supporting the White Ribbon global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women

25 November 2012 (United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Day)

What is the White Ribbon Campaign?

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) - www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk - is the UK branch of the global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women. We are an educational organization to encourage reflection and discussion that leads to personal and collective action amongst men. Throughout the year we encourage men to do educational work in schools, workplaces and communities, to support local women's groups, and to raise money for the international educational efforts of the WRC. We distribute Education and Action kits to schools, colleges and youth clubs, maintain a website, and speak out on issues of public policy.


How can Public Policy support men and young boys?

An ICM poll commissioned by EVAW showed that 42% of young people know girls whose boyfriends have hit them and that 40% know girls whose boyfriends have coerced or pressurised them to have sex. We need to move away from minimal work on challenging the tolerance of violence, to the kind of long-term uncompromising campaigns, such as those on drink driving (Source EVAW – www.evaw.org.uk).

The White Ribbon Campaign UK argues that public policy must take the lead in supporting educational programmes that seek to challenge discriminatory attitudes and practices at an early age. Public policy must support prevention work that seeks to discourage discriminatory attitudes and the primers that contribute to men’s violence. More provision for this kind of work will help to reduce the estimated cost to government of domestic violence.

However, if we really wish to galvanize teenage boys, if we really want to reach them, if we really want to have a life-long impact on their relations with women, then the key entry point might be on building healthy relationships through discussions with young people. This is the way in which young men can really understand the immediate relevancy of the issue of violence against women. Such work should focus on communication in relationships, respect, sexual responsibility, sexual violence, and emotional and verbal abuse.

What is the White Ribbon Status programme?

The White Ribbon Campaign currently runs a White Ribbon Status programme where we work with councils throughout the UK in an attempt to raise awareness, improve understanding, and provide services to help reduce the overall incidence of domestic violence.

The programme is intended for councils wishing to demonstrate their commitment to the aims of the WRC, and provide their local community with increased support and understanding of the issues associated with domestic violence. Councils are asked to meet certain criteria, depending on size, in order to be nationally recognised as having gained White Ribbon Status accreditation, with the full support of the WRC staff. There are a variety of initiatives available, as part of this award, to local businesses and to the general public.

At the moment there are around twenty two local authorities and Primary Care Trust’s which are White Ribbon Status accredited, with four working towards it, but we are keen to add to this number in order to increase the number of communities that benefit from the support the White Ribbon Campaign offers.