By Kate Bennett
Today is White Ribbon Day – a campaign which runs on the UN’s International Elimination of Violence Against Women day– a day dedicated to tackling violence against women across the World. Kate Bennett, The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s National Director for Wales, explains what the day means for people here, why its important and what the commission and other groups are doing to tackle the issue of violence against women.
Every year in the UK at least three million women experience violence, and many more are living with the legacies of past abuse.
Most of this abuse is perpetrated by men and boys who are already known to their victims – friends, partners, relatives, colleagues.
The scope and scale of violence against women is shocking. It costs society £40 billion every year and for women it can costs them their safety, security, health and in some cases, their life.
Today marks the International Day for the elimination of violence against women – known as White Ribbon Day.
This is part of an international campaign that aims to engage with men, to work to end men’s violence against women.
The white ribbon is a symbol of hope for a world where women and girls can live free from the fear of violence. Those who wear the ribbon – men or women – pledge to shun violence and break the silence.
Breaking the silence on violence is an important step forward for us all. In 2008 the Commission’s Who Do You See? research found that 19% of the Welsh population believe that domestic abuse is best handled as a private matter, rather than the police. Research also show us that every year one in ten women experience domestic abuse and every week at least two women are killed by violent partners or ex-partners.
In responding to these stark statistics we have welcomed the opportunity to work with a range of partners committed to tackling domestic abuse – one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women. The role of the workplace as a key issue emerged strongly from this partnership work.
So together we have developed a range of practical support for both employers and staff. This includes guidance on an effective workplace policy; the business case for taking action; a digital story from a domestic abuse survivor; and lots more.
Our aim is that every employer in Wales benefits from taking effective action in the workplace to retain skilled and experienced staff, tackle sickness absence and ensure staff feel safe and supported in the workplace.
This is an ambitious aim but one that we can achieve – and help to save lives- if we all take some small steps in the same direction.
Find out more about our domestic abuse is your business toolkit at our website