Southwark Council’s action to eliminate violence against women and girls

25 November 2021

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is also national White Ribbon Day and the beginning of 16 days of action on violence against women and girls.

Last night, at Council Assembly, male officers and politicians wore the White Ribbon to signify their allegiance to the cause of saying ‘No’ to violence, harassment and misogyny against women and girls. They have made the promise not to look the other way.

In line with White Ribbon’s message, that #AllMenCan, Leader of Southwark Council, Kieron Williams, addressed assembly to say that “It is not enough for men to just do the right thing in our own lives; we – all our sons, brothers and fathers need to play our part in ending abusive and violent behaviour by men towards women and girls. The call of the White Ribbon movement is for men to ‘not use violence, not excuse violence and not be silent about violence’. All men need to be advocates to stop this crisis.”

The council’s women’s safety survey, conducted between May and June this year in order to research local opinion following the murder of Sarah Everard, achieved 568 responses. Just over half (52 per cent) of those who responded felt ‘unsafe’ and, even more worrying, 92 per cent cited their gender as a reason to feel unsafe.

Beginning today and running to 10 December (Human Rights Day), Southwark Council will be hosting and supporting a programme of easy to access, online learning sessions and seminars. These events will highlight the many forms of violence against women and girls and consider ways in which we can work together towards a future where this abuse and violence is no longer tolerated or legitimised.

Drawing on specialist expertise from Solace, Women’s aid, the workshops target men as well as women, so they can greater understand how to be male allies to women.

Councillor Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, who leads of safety, said: “I hope that the series of workshops we’re offering over the coming days will help men gain a deeper understanding of what they can do to keep women safe. Staff, practitioners and those working with vulnerable people can gain further training in how they can spot abuse and support people effectively. This is alongside our recently opened Safe Spaces for those experiencing abuse, and our extensive council programme of work to prevent violence against women and girls.”

Page last updated: 25 November 2021

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