Rossendale Borough Council has pledged to do its utmost to end male violence against women by signing the White Ribbon pledge ahead of national White Ribbon Day later this month.

The pledge commits the authority to devising online domestic abuse awareness raising training for all employees and recruiting White Ribbon ambassadors and champions to spread the message and raising awareness locally.

The council's move has been welcomed by the charity that devised the pledge.

White Ribbon UK chief executive Anthea Sully said: “Our call to end violence by raising awareness, educating and campaigning to bring about change is greatly strengthened by working together with our White Ribbon accredited organisations.

“Our partners are able to engage with many thousands of people to change the cultures that lead to violence against women and girls.

"We are delighted to welcome Rossendale Borough Council as one of our White Ribbon accredited organisations.

"Together we can prevent violence happening in the first place.”

The pledge was supported by safeguarding, equality and human rights expert Saima Afzal.

She said: "This is an amazing initiative.

"There's a serious issue of femicide in the UK, with studies showing that 61% of women killed by men having been killed by their current or ex-partners and a 20% increase in domestic violence since that start of lockdown, and these are just the cases we know about.

"So these initiatives show that organisations are taking these issues seriously but there's always more work that needs to be done."

Rossendale Borough Council director of communities Adam Allen pledged that this was just the beginning of the borough's efforts to tackle violence against women.

He said: "The council are pleased to be working with White Ribbon and taking a lead in highlighting and educating people about this issue, and not just on White Ribbon Day itself on November 25, but every day.

“Violence against women largely remains hidden and it’s important that men especially take a stand and speak against this behaviour wherever and whenever they see it. It's an issue that affects us all, not just women.”

More than 100 organisations have received White Ribbon accreditation, including councils, police forces, fire and rescue services, health authorities, housing associations, schools and universities.

There is also a scheme for smaller organisations to become White Ribbon supporters.

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