People across Leeds are being encouraged to pledge their support for the 16 Days of Action campaign to end violence against women.
Although women make up the majority of victims of domestic violence and abuse, it is recognised that men can also be victims. Help and support is available for everyone.
The international day to end violence against women is Sunday 25 November 2018 and marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Action. This year’s theme in Leeds for the campaign is recognising domestic violence and abuse experienced by older people. This is because statistics show that ‘abuse has no age limit’.
Figures from domestic homicide reviews in Leeds have shown that since 2011, there have been 11 domestic homicides involving women over the age of 50, out of which 4 were over the age of 60. The reviews have highlighted that isolation was a key factor where the victim was not known to mainstream services and that information targeting older people about specialist services tended to be very limited.
The overall aim of this year’s campaign is therefore to reach out to older people experiencing domestic violence and abuse. The Safer Leeds Domestic Violence Team is working with partners and stakeholders to raise awareness through a range of activities such as an OBA (Outcomes Based Accountability) event and workforce development programmes.
Organisations and members of the public are also encouraged to be open to the idea that older people can experience domestic violence and are urged to look out for signs and signpost people for help.
A second campaign to end violence against women, White Ribbon Day, also falls on Sunday 25 November. The White Ribbon campaign similarly encourages people in Leeds to pledge that they will not commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
White Ribbon ambassadors and volunteers will be taking to the streets of Leeds next week to raise awareness of the issue and will be asking people to make their pledge.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:
“We take domestic violence and abuse very seriously in Leeds. Our vision is that Leeds is a city that has a zero tolerance approach, where individuals, families and communities are supported to lead safer, healthier and happier lives.
“Domestic violence and abuse impacts the lives and wellbeing of thousands of citizens in Leeds every day. We hope that campaigns like this not only help to raise awareness but also help people to talk about it more openly. In particularly, we hope that such campaigns encourage males to talk to other males more openly about the issue and encourage each other to take a stand against domestic violence.”
Richard Jones CBE, Independent Chair of Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board, said:
“Working together to support people experiencing domestic violence and abuse is a responsibility of us all, and campaigns likes this provide an opportunity for us all to come together to help promote awareness across the city.
“We really hope that through this campaign we can reach more people, help them to recognise abuse and enable them to feel more confident to talk about their experiences and access the information and support they need to be safe and feel safe.”
Superintendent Jackie Marsh, Safer Leeds, said:
“Tackling domestic abuse remains a key priority for us, and we continue to work closely with a range of partner agencies to provide a comprehensive response that is focused on protecting victims from harm.
“It is widely acknowledged that domestic abuse is still significantly underreported and it’s important that we keep doing everything we can to make sure victims, and those who can act on their behalf, have the confidence to come forward and report it.
“We hope people across Leeds will get behind the current campaign and help us to raise awareness of the support that is available.”
For more information, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/domesticviolence or follow @SaferLeeds on Twitter and join us by using the hashtags #16DaysLeeds and #WhiteRibbonLeeds.
For help and advice people can visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/domesticviolence or contact the Leeds Domestic Violence Service 24 hour help line on (0113) 246 0401. In case of immediate danger people should call 999.