Councillors on Calderdale’s Communities Scrutiny Panel have been looking at ways in which the Council can act to challenge attitudes towards domestic violence and bring about change.
Calderdale Council is an accredited White Ribbon employer, an award from the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC), which is working to end physical violence and other forms of abuse against women. Scrutiny Panel Members discussed ways in which the Council could build on this by increasing awareness amongst staff and the local community. The Panel will report its recommendations to the Cabinet on Monday 7 October.
Councillor Marcus Thompson, Scrutiny Chair for Communities said:
“Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated and we must do more to tackle this problem. This is about physical violence, but also other forms of abuse such as financial and psychological fear and control. It damages lives and communities, leaving lifelong scars on those affected. We want everyone to know the signs and to challenge this behaviour.”
Recommendations to the Cabinet include asking that each Council service:
– identifies and reports any incidents or concerns relating to domestic violence;
– engages men in speaking out about violence and
– challenges negative energy stereotypes.
To raise awareness of the issues the Panel has recommended that the Council should mark White Ribbon Day, an international event held annually on 25 November. This would involve a range of activities including flying the White Ribbon flag at Halifax Town Hall and inviting Councillors and officers to show their support of the campaign by wearing a white ribbon.
The report recommends appointing two senior Council officers as White Ribbon Campaign Ambassadors and that the Council adopt and publicise an employee policy on domestic violence.
The Cabinet is invited to evaluate the White Ribbon Take Action Calderdale Training Project with the recommendation to continue support for this ‘bystander programme’. This provides training to young people, aged between 16 and 25, to give them the skills they need to safely intervene in situations where they experience language or behaviour they feel should be challenged.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will discuss the recommendations at the Cabinet meeting at 6pm on Monday 7 October at Halifax Town Hall.