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White Ribbon Day and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Dorset Police and Crime Commisisoner, David Sidwick, along with Dorset Police is supporting White Ribbon Day on 25 November (International Day Against Violence Against Women) and 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence which starts on the same day and runs until 10 December (Human Rights Day, observed across the world).

In  the coming days and weeks, you will see information on the forces social media about how you can find support if you are a victim of rape or serious sexual assault or of domestic abuse in any of its forms, and about the meaning of consent and the myths surrounding rape and domestic abuse that may prevent people from reporting it.

Bear in mind that although the theme of 16 Days is very much about violence against women and girls, there is help from police and partner agencies for everyone.

Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick Said: “I am proud to support White Ribbon Day and the 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence. I am committed to creating an environment where women and girls are both safe and feel safe from violence, intimidation and harassment through influencing and supporting change within communities, partners, and policing.

“Through the 16 days of activism, I hope we can raise awareness of the support out there for victims and educate the public in how they can help when they witness such harassment.”

Information about how to report or call out unacceptable behaviour and how victims can find help and support, and how to understand the importance of receiving informed consent before sex, will continue throughout the World Cup and the festive season, when heightened emotions and increased drinking can lead to more incidents of violence against women and girls, domestic abuse harassment and sexual offences.

Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “Dorset Police is committed reducing violence and harassment which disproportionally effects women and girls. We do this operationally with such initiatives as Operation Vigilant and by working together with partners to keep people safe in the evening and night time economy and elsewhere. Dorset Polce has joined Operation Soteria Bluestone, a national initiative which will transform the way that the inexcusable violence of rape and serious sexual offences is investigated and how victims of it are supported through the criminal justice process.

“The tide is turning against those who believe that they can harass and assault women and girls, or anyone, with impunity. All of us can play a part in this, especially men and boys, by calling out unacceptable behaviours if it is safe to do so or by reporting it to the police or to hospitality or security staff when you are out and about. Everyone should be able to go about their lives without fear of being harassed or worse.

“For these reasons, we support the principals of White Ribbon UK and of the global 16 Days of activism against gender based violence campaign.”

White Ribbon is the UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls. Everyone, especially men and boys, is encouraged to make the White Ribbon Promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women. Find out more about White Ribbon UK at the website

You will also see information from  the Home Office “Enough” campaign which amongst other things provides a guide on how, if it is safe to do so, simple acts of intervention by bystanders such as calling out or reporting unacceptable behaviour can prevent women and girls being abused or harmed. You may already have seen the TV commercial. Find out more at the campaign website

The Global 16 Days Campaign, supported by the United Nations and Center for Women’s Global Leadership, has been used worldwide to call for the elimination of gender-based violence. It is run annually from November 25 to December 10. You can find out more about the global 16 Days campaign here In focus: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence | UN Women – Headquarters

This year the Force has joined the Home Office led Operation Soteria Bluestone, a national programme to improve outcomes in rape and serious sexual offence cases, such as better support for victims throughout the criminal justice process and seeing more cases go to court. It focuses on a suspect oriented approach along with working closely with the CPS, Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and other partner organisations. Prior to officially joining the initiative as one of fourteen forces,  it has been following the Soteria Bluestone principles of specialist skills for all, not just specialist teams, and upskilling all investigators and responders, adopted from the experiences of five initial pathfinder forces.

Detective Superintendent Stewart Dipple, speaking about domestic abuse, said: “Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime that impacts on all sections and classes in our community. The sad reality is nobody is immune from it and we know the adverse impact on children and the next generation that witness and experience living in an abusive household.

“Domestic violence is perpetrated by all genders against all persons but we cannot escape the fact that women are disproportionately affected. Dorset Police works with partners to tackle the root causes of domestic abuse but we need to focus more on the perpetrators of this horrific crime, often committed against those who are vulnerable.

“Due to the frequency and ubiquity of domestic abuse, abusers are not limited to the spouse or partner of the victim – they can be a child abusing a parent, an adult abusing an elderly relative, or someone with whom the victim is simply personally connected. Therefore I urge everyone to support tackling domestic abuse and stand up to those who are violent and abusive to others.”

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