A partnership of organisations working to support women and girls in Hertfordshire is calling for people to make a stand against abuse, as part of a global movement to end gender-based violence.
First launched in 1991, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign which takes place every year.
Running until 10 December, it calls for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence towards women.
Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership are asking residents across the county to show their support for the campaign.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a term used to describe a range of harmful or abusive behaviours – that disproportionately affect women and girls.
In Hertfordshire, females account for around two thirds (66%) of recorded violent/sexual offences, and nearly three quarters (73%) of recorded domestic abuse crimes each year.
Between 2020-21 more than 2,500 stalking/harassment male to female offences were recorded – of which 1,896 (76%) were domestic abuse related.
Tony Kingsbury, Executive Member for Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We want everyone in Hertfordshire, especially men and boys, to take a stand against all forms of violence and abuse against women and girls and make the White Ribbon Promise.
“I’m proud to be a White Ribbon Ambassador. I am pleased that we are working in partnership to raise awareness of this important issue and keep women and girls in Hertfordshire safe from harm.”
During the 16-day campaign, organisations in Hertfordshire will raise awareness about the range of services available to support those experiencing violence.
A specially commissioned video featuring messages from local male leaders and sports allies has also been made.
Two of Hertfordshire’s biggest sporting clubs – Stevenage FC and Watford FC – have shown their support and are taking part in the #HertsUnitedAgainstAbuse campaign either as part of the video, on match days, or with other activities planned during the period, and beyond.
There are several ways Hertfordshire residents can become involved with the campaign including:
1. Making the White Ribbon Promise “to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women”.
2. Support 16 Days of Activism events and initiatives happening within your local community.
3. Be the best ally you can be by learning how to appropriately intervene and challenge harmful or abusive behaviours via the UK government’s Enough campaign.
4. Show support on social media by re-sharing awareness raising content from national and local organisations (or share your own message of allyship and support) with the hashtag #HertsUnitedAgainstAbuse.
Visit the Herts Sunflower website for further information, advice and local support related to violence against women and girls and domestic abuse.