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White Ribbon campaign launched by leading UK activist

4 mins read

A campaign to stop violence against women and girls has been launched by Stirling and Clackmannanshire Gender Based Violence Partnership.

Luke Hart, a leading UK campaigner against domestic violence helped to launch the ’16 Days of Action’ campaign which looks at tackling the violence against women and girls which was started by the Women’s Global Partnership in 1991.

Kevin Kelman of Stirling Council and Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Lannigan display the signed pledges. Credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

Hart and his brother Ryan, from Lincolnshire, travel across the country as well as internationally raising awareness of coercive control after their mother Claire and sister Charlotte were murdered by their controlling father.

Since then, the two brothers have spent their lives committed to challenging male violence towards women and children by sharing their story through their charity CoCo Awareness.

The annual 16-day campaign will start on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25, and run through to December 10, the International Human Rights Day. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the harms faced by women and children.

Luke was the headline speaker at the campaign organised by the local councils, saying: “events like this are crucial for raising awareness and understanding of domestic abuse.”

Council representatives and other agencies along with Luke signed the White Ribbon Pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all of its forms.

Kevin Kelman signing the White Ribbon Pledge. Credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

Stuart Oliver, Senior Manager for Economic Development and Communities at Stirling Council said: “having Luke come to Stirling to deliver such a powerful and moving testimony really drove home the importance of our ’16 Days of Action’ campaign and tackling domestic abuse against women and children.

“Stirling council have approved a new policy on Domestic Abuse to ensure we have the correct help and support.”

There were 802 incidents of domestic abuse in Stirling reported to the police in 2017-18 and 191 incidents of sexual crimes. The work of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire Gender Based Partnerships is vital in helping to raise awareness of this issue and highlight that domestic abuse is not just physical.

Events and activities for the campaign will focus on making people aware of the new Forth Valley NHS Meadows facility, designed to support those who have experienced sexual abuse or rape, the student-centred #isthisokay campaign, emphasising the importance of protecting and supporting women with learning disabilities and challenging poverty particularly among women.

The signed White Ribbon pledge. Credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) 2018 Act came into force in April 2019. In the Act prior there was no specific crime on domestic abuse and no recognition of its nature and consequences and was not effective in holding perpetrators accountable.

A key theme of the local campaign will be highlighting that domestic abuse is not just physical and that emotional and coercive control is now an offence under the new act.

Featured image credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

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