The Isle of Wight Council and its partners are supporting White Ribbon Day today (Thursday) — the largest global initiative to end male violence against women by calling on men to take action to make a difference.
All men can make a difference by thinking of their own behaviour and being prepared to call out sexist and harassing behaviour when they see it.
The day also marks the start of the ’16 Days of Action’ campaign and the council will be marking these important dates with a social media campaign and a visit from the Crimestoppers charity to Newport town centre on 8th December.
Teresa Brimble-Brennan, the council’s domestic abuse project officer, said:
“One in four women, and one in six men, will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.
“Domestic abuse exists in many forms and anyone who is forced to change their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s or family member’s reaction is experiencing abuse.
“In the past, domestic abuse was seen as a private matter behind closed doors that was often ignore or excused. However, abusing, controlling or coercing a partner or family member is against the law.”
The campaign will shine a light on a range of topics including coercive control, stalking and harassment, sexual violence, perpetrators of abuse, the impact on children and the effects of domestic abuse on health.
Each social media post aims to signpost people to those who can offer help and support such as Paragon — formerly known as You First — commissioned and funded by the council to deliver integrated domestic abuse services on the Island.
Paragon runs the Dragonfly Project, training people to become Dragonfly Champions who act as points of contact for those experiencing abuse in isolated communities, supporting them to access vital services. Around 115 Dragonfly Champions have been trained on the Island since the beginning of the year with 38 victims supported through the project as a direct result of this training.
A series of free virtual domestic abuse workshops — Train to become a Dragonfly Champion — has been arranged during the campaign and further details are available here.
Meanwhile, Island businesses can support the campaign by signing the company pledge — a commitment to keep staff safe from abuse at work and create a working environment that makes it easy for people to take the first step and to talk about their experience.
In return, they will receive a free employer pack designed to help companies spot the signs and symptoms of domestic abuse, which include:
- frequent absence, lateness or needing to leave work early;
- reduced quality and quantity of work or missing deadlines;
- changes in the way an employee communicates — a large number of personal calls or texts or a strong reaction to personal calls; and
- physical signs and symptoms such as unexplained or frequent bruises or other injuries.
The pack includes posters to display in the workplace, free training opportunities on the Island and domestic abuse policy templates for companies to use and adapt.
“There are positive ways that you can help even if its just an uncomfortable feeling you have. Never ignore this but use this as an opportunity to offer help and support.
“Abuse is not always easy to spot as physical marks cannot always be seen and may not even exist — notice the more subtle indicators such as a change in behaviour, excuses not to keep in touch or constant calls and texts when they do.
“Ask them if they are ok and if they feel safe at home and provide opportunities to talk and when they do just listen and explain that it is not their fault and they are not alone.”
To request a pack, email [email protected].
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