Taking Action to Wipe Out Domestic Abuse
The Council has just received White Ribbon accreditation which means it will deliver a comprehensive action plan to change the cultures that lead to abuse and violence and promote gender equality. The actions the Council has pledged to take include engaging with men and boys to prevent abuse against woman and girls and recruiting White Ribbon Ambassadors and Champions who will help to deliver a positive culture. With commitment from the entire Council, awareness will be raised among staff with training opportunities to enable them to become positive role models, skilful in recognising and addressing abusive and sexist behaviour. This is further evidence that the Council is delivering on its priority of supporting vulnerable groups.
Councillor Ruth Berkley has already been named a Domestic Abuse Member Champion, whose role is to raise awareness of the issue and the support available to victims of domestic abuse. Cllr Berkley, who sits on the South Tyneside Domestic Abuse Partnership Board, will act as an advocate to encourage communication and positive action for domestic abuse related issues.
Councillor Anne Hetherington, Lead Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: "It is a tragic fact of life that male abuse of women is all too prevalent.
"It is vital that we change those cultures and attitudes that condone such behaviour. Male abuse against women is never okay and it is only by leading by example that we can seek to make positive change in our communities."
White Ribbon is a global campaign that encourages people, and especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.
Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between partners or family members. This can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.
Domestic Abuse Member Champion, Councillor Ruth Berkley, said: "We need to work towards a zero tolerance approach to domestic abuse. Sadly, domestic abuse is experienced by men as well and in same sex relationships, but 90 per cent of those subjected to domestic abuse are women.
"By working in partnership as communities, services and agencies, we can send a clear message to those men who think it is acceptable to abuse women. Abuse comes in many different forms and we are committed wiping it out so that every single woman can live free from abusive behaviour.
Last year the Council launched its domestic abuse team, called Restart, which both supports victims of domestic abuse and works with perpetrators to change their behaviour.
Anthea Sully, Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK said, "White Ribbon accredited organisations are able to make a real difference towards ending abuse and violence against women by promoting a culture of respect and equality, amongst their staff and wider communities. By raising awareness among employees, people can learn how to become allies and call out violent and abusive behaviour when they see it, at work and outside. We are delighted to welcome South Tyneside Council as one of our White Ribbon Accredited organisations and are looking forward to working with them".