Commissioner leads celebrations as Lancashire becomes first White Ribbon county

From left: Chris Green, White Ribbon campaign UK; Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner; Lancashire Constabulary's Chief Constable Andy Rhodes; Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director Public Health and Wellbeing, Lancashire County Council.
From left: Chris Green, White Ribbon campaign UK; Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner; Lancashire Constabulary's Chief Constable Andy Rhodes; Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director Public Health and Wellbeing, Lancashire County Council.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw is leading celebrations as his bid to make Lancashire the first White Ribbon county in the UK has resulted in public sector organisations across the county being accredited by the White Ribbon Campaign.

The Commissioner was joined by Chief Constable Andy Rhodes in hosting a celebration event at the Harris Museum in Preston today, 3 October 2017, to mark the occasion.

Commissioner Grunshaw and Chief Constable Rhodes accepted the official accreditation from White Ribbon UK alongside representatives from Lancashire County Council as other community leaders from across Lancashire also joined in the celebration.

Lancashire County Council and all Lancashire district councils and unitary authorities now hold White Ribbon Status which marks their commitment to ending violence against women and girls. Lancashire Constabulary and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group have also been accredited as part of the drive to educate and raise awareness of violence against women, and to engage men in the debate around the issue.

The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest global effort of men working to end male violence against women and Mr. Grunshaw has supported the campaign since he first took office in 2012. Supporters of the campaign are asked to pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, there were 25,383 domestic abuse incidents and 10,629 domestic abuse crimes reported to the police in Lancashire.

Speaking at the event in Preston, Mr Grunshaw said: “Supporting vulnerable people and victims is a key priority in my Police and Crime plan so I am delighted to see Lancashire become the first White Ribbon County.

“My office and partner organisations have been working towards countywide accreditation over the past year and it’s fantastic to see this work pay off.

“Violence against women and girls is unacceptable and shockingly over 90% of domestic abuse is witnessed by children. This has to stop and anything we can do to tackle the issue and get people talking about it has to be a good thing.

“The White Ribbon Campaign is about raising awareness and speaking out against violence and abuse and I am proud to support this.

“I have made specialist support for victims available through Lancashire Victim Services and I would urge anyone affected to contact the service.”

Lancashire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Andy Rhodes added: “Domestic abuse has a significant impact on the overall health and wellbeing of individuals, families and their communities.

“It is important that victims do not suffer in silence and I am proud that, as a county, we have taken a stance to say that we will do everything we can to provide support and tackle the issue.

“I would encourage anyone who has experienced, or who is experiencing, domestic abuse to seek support. Domestic abuse is a crime. We have specially trained officers who can offer you protection and help you find safe accommodation.”

Chris Green from White Ribbon Campaign UK said: “Involving the majority of men in speaking out and challenging sexual harassment and inappropriate language and behaviour is how we change the culture. To have co-ordinated activity across the whole county is the perfect way to build a campaign to end the current epidemic of violence which results in 6 kids in every class being a witness of violence.

“It is men’s responsibility to speak out because 90% of interpersonal violence is committed by men on women, because womens organisations want men to take responsibility for taking action and because some men listen better when it is men they know providing the message.”

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “It’s important we all work together to put an end to violence against women and this campaign is vitally important.

“Violence against women can come in all forms whether it’s domestic abuse or attacks on the street, but displaying the White Ribbon is a clear sign that we won’t stand for it.

“By being accredited, we’ve taken another hugely important step towards helping to transform the lives of women and girls affected by violence.”

Celebration events are also taking place in Blackpool, Burnley and Pendle today.

People can pledge their support for the campaign online and find out more at http://www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/.