Stockport Council to seek White Ribbon accreditation in commitment to ending domestic violence

Stockport Council is to seek the prestigious White Ribbon accreditation.

The proposal received support from all parties at a meeting of the full council on Thursday (15th July) evening.

The council has registered their interest in achieving accreditation with White Ribbon UK who are part of the global White Ribbon movement to end male violence against women. They are a leading charity aimed at ending male violence against women by engaging with men and boys to make a stand against violence. Their mission is for all men to fulfil the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. In the words of White Ribbon UK: “We act as a catalyst, encouraging people, and especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change behaviour.”

The accreditation, demonstrates a commitment to improving organisational culture, safety and morale, and help staff and communities address the serious issue of male violence against women.

Seeking this accreditation is part of Stockport Council’s long-term commitment to providing appropriate support for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse. Funding provided by the Home Office for Children Affected by Domestic Abuse, alongside the council’s investment has helped develop an effective co-ordinated community response for Domestic Abuse in Stockport.

Domestic violence against women has never been a more important topic, with alarming figures showing a sharp increase in cases during the pandemic. The National Domestic Abuse helpline, run by the charity Refuge, reported an average of 13,162 calls every month between April 2020 and February 2021 – an increase of 60% compared to before the start of lockdown in 2020. The largest amount of calls came from women in their 30s, with 72% of calls from women reporting violence and abuse. Increases have also been felt on a local level throughout Stockport and Greater Manchester, with 36% of violent cases reported to Greater Manchester Police entailing domestic abuse.

Additionally, ONS figures show that almost one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and over half a million women are raped or sexually assaulted each year. It’s these shocking figures which drove the council’s decision to seek the White Ribbon accreditation.

Moreover, the council’s White Ribbon accreditation plan, will support our inclusive strategic approach to addressing violence against women, men and children.

The accreditation comes as Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) announce the Gender Based Abuse Strategy, which aims to provide a 10-year strategy to help improve the safety of women and girls who are victims of abuse in the area. The proposals include funding for specific services and projects, training and development for frontline staff and targeted engagement campaigns.

This also comes amid changes nationally with the new Domestic Abuse Act placing new statutory duties on local authorities to provide support for people experiencing domestic abuse, including duties to provide safe accommodation to victims of domestic abuse and a new accountable Domestic Abuse Partnership Board.

Councillor Amanda Peers, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods at Stockport Council, said: “I am proud to be leading on this piece of work for the council and extremely proud to be part of an organisation that has committed to obtaining White Ribbon accreditation. This is an opportunity for men and boys across our borough to understand how they can bring about change and end male violence against women by taking the White Ribbon Promise.”

“Achieving White Ribbon accreditation as an organisation will further demonstrate that we are best placed to help our residents in ending the fight on violence against women, and I welcome the support of my fellow members as we champion this important issue. Our staff continue to work tirelessly for our residents, and this accreditation will demonstrate the skills and knowledge of our workforce in addressing domestic abuse in our communities.”

“I encourage all of our partner organisations to apply for their accreditation, to demonstrate our ongoing joint commitment to this issue.”

For more information on the White Ribbon organisational accreditation, visit: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/organisations.