Love Is Not Abuse at the forefront as Wigan Council marks White Ribbon Day

Wigan Council showed its support for campaigns to end violence towards women and girls, and reaffirmed its commitment to the Love Is Not Abuse initiative.

The local authority encouraged everyone across the borough to mark White Ribbon Day (WRD) and the 16 days of action that follow.

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Leigh Town Hall was lit up to highlight the days of action with key information about borough-wide support services and other awareness raising plans.

White Ribbon Day. Wigan councillors show their support to end violence towards women and reaffirm the council's commitment to the Love Is Not Abuse initiative.

Coun Laura Flynn, cabinet lead member for equality and domestic abuse, said: “White Ribbon Day (WRD) is an important date in our calendar each year and its aims run parallel to our own Love Is Not Abuse campaign.

"WRD and the days of action place this subject in the spotlight on a regional and national scale, giving us all a chance to stand together to help bring an end to violence against women and domestic abuse in all its forms. Love Is Not Abuse has made a real impact over the last 18 months and we’re keen to re-share its key messages again and not lose any momentum.”

Marked across the UK, WRD urges communities, organisations and workplaces to unite to say ‘no’ to violence against women.

Throughout the 16 days of action, key information about how to identify domestic abuse and details of support outlets for those affected by it will be highlighted.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester have joined public services across the city-region to reiterate their commitment to tackling gender-based violence in all its forms, on White Ribbon Day 2022.

The council’s campaign developed alongside victims and designed to highlight the warning signs of domestic abuse against men and women, was launched in 2021.

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A dedicated helpline was set up last year as part of the partnership work with the Wigan Borough Domestic Abuse service. It is available for victims, family and friends who may have concerns about a loved one and also professionals who are seeking advice. For 2022, the helpline has received 6,500 calls, reflecting that domestic abuse can affect anyone and that more residents are recognising the signs and are seeking support.

Also in Greater Manchester, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester joined public services across the city-region to reiterate their commitment to tackling gender-based violence in all its forms.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) are once again White Ribbon accredited and, for the first time, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has been officially accredited by the charity.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “For too long, women and girls have had to make changes in their daily lives in response to the behaviour of, primarily, men and boys.

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"Whilst we know this is not the behaviour of every man and boy, we do know that every woman and girl will recognise and have experienced the behaviours shown in our campaign films at some point.

“We call on men and boys to follow our #IsThisOK? campaign and, more importantly, keep this conversation going.

“The campaign is just one part of our ongoing work to tackle gender-based violence and our whole-system approach. This means that Greater Manchester partners and authorities are coming together to tackle the issue as a collective and that’s why it’s important to see our organisations recognise White Ribbon Day, with GMCA, GMFRS and TfGM all White Ribbon accredited, the latter for the first time this year.”

Vernon Everitt, transport commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “The Bee Network is our plan for a truly inclusive and integrated public transport system, and the safety of women and girls is of paramount importance as we deliver this.

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“Women feel much less safe on public transport and on our streets and it is down to us – particularly men and boys – to create an environment that is, and feels, safe for all women and girls across Greater Manchester and beyond.

“I am delighted that TfGM has become a White Ribbon accredited organisation to underline the total commitment of the Combined Authority and many other organisations to tackling inequality, gender-based violence and crime and anti-social behaviour in our region.”

For more information about Wigan Council’s Love Is Not Abuse campaign and domestic abuse support services, visit: www.wigan.gov.uk/domesticabuse. The Wigan Borough Domestic Abuse helpline is available at 01942 311365.

Everyone can show their commitment by making the White Ribbon Promise never to use, excuse, or remain silent about violence against women. To take the pledge, visit: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/promise