Police officers and staff at South Wales Police are promoting this year’s White Ribbon campaign to tackle violence against women and girls.
From 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable are leading the initiative to support the White Ribbon campaign which asks men to pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms. Wearing a white ribbon signifies that this personal pledge has been made.
To support this, the Commissioner’s Team and Local Police Officers have continued to utilise the effective network undertaken by the White Ribbon Ambassadors and Champions.
These officers engage with local communities to raise awareness of all forms of violence against women and girls; help achieve a change in behaviour and attitude among men and, encourage victims to come forward. This activity will take place during the next 16 days up to 10 December 2018, Human Rights Day.
Other forms of violence against women and girls include stalking, harassment, sexual assault, rape, female genital mutilation, honour based abuse, and forced marriage.
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said:
“It’s a basic principle of what it means to live in a civilised society that everyone should be able to live positive, independent lives without being affected by violence and abuse.
“We support people who have become a victim of abuse regardless of gender, race, class, age, religion, sexuality, mental ability, physical ability, income, lifestyle or geographical area of residence. However, women are more likely than men to be victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, which contrasts with all other types of violent crime where men are more likely to be victims. That remains a blot on the reputation of South Wales and leads to ruined lives as well as fear and intimidation – and that’s what all of us must tackle.”
Chief Constable Matt Jukes said:
“We are committed to bringing an end to all forms of violence against women and girls in South Wales. To achieve this, we work hard to ensure that our officers and staff understand their role in detecting abuse against women and girls, safeguarding victims and pursuing perpetrators.
“Our White Ribbon Ambassadors and Champions are role models among their peers; they convey the principles of the White Ribbon campaign to their colleagues and work with partner agencies locally to help ensure that every opportunity to intervene and help prevent violence against women and girls is taken.”
Ongoing work in this area was recognised last year by the UK Government who awarded £1.4m, the largest share of the £17million Violence Against Women and Girls Service Transformation Fund, to the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales.
Thanks to this fund, initiatives that have benefited from this investment include the Welsh Women’s Aid ‘Ask Me’ scheme, which has enabled 30 ‘community ambassadors’ to be trained to identify the signs of abuse and to provide safe spaces within communities where women can report it.
Additionally, the launch of the Drive Project in Cwm Taf has effectively reduced the number of child and adult victims of domestic abuse by deterring perpetrator behaviour. The programme, which challenges perpetrators of domestic abuse, fundamentally changes perpetrator behaviour to make victims and families safe.
A Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Regional Board that includes Public Health Wales, local health boards, local authorities, emergency services and third sector organisations has also strengthened collaboration and provides a foundation to deliver a whole system approach. This effective approach recognises that tackling violence against women and girls is a complex problem, which cannot be solved by any one single agency, and needs to be seen as everyone’s business.
Mr Michael added: “The police cannot tackle these issues alone, and in Wales we are helped enormously by our trusted partners and the commitment of Welsh Government, with ground-breaking legislation on this issue – and on-going commitment to changing the culture.”
In addition, following the launch of the South Wales Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Plan in June 2014, South Wales Police and the Commissioner’s Office achieved the first joint White Ribbon status.