Community leaders across Southend, Essex and Thurrock, including officers and staff at Essex Police, are uniting today with a promise to tackle the epidemic of violence against women.
Today, Thursday 25 November, marks White Ribbon Day, also known as the International Day of the Eradication of Violence Against Women. It marks the start of the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board’s (SETDAB) 16 days of action campaign with this year’s focus being male violence against women.
The SETDAB is made up of representatives from agencies and organisations working to join up and better facilitate Southend, Essex and Thurrock’s vision to work together to enable everyone to live a life free from all forms of abuse.
This year’s White Ribbon Day aims to get men in particular to think about their behaviours towards women and take the White Ribbon promise:
“I promise to never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.”
Men from across the county – from the emergency services to local councils, and the NHS to the education sector – have made the promise and are committed to challenging unacceptable behaviour.
Anthony McKeever, Chief Executive Designate for the Mid and South Essex ICS said: "I'm supporting White Ribbon Day to help end violence and abuse against women and girls. Much of this needs to start in our communities and with our youngest members of society, and learning early on in life about respect and gender equality. As an NHS system we stand against abuse and violence in all its forms and I make this pledge today to never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women."
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “The issue of male violence against women and girls impacts those across our country – and our county – every day.
“This isn’t a problem for women to solve, so it’s crucial that men are visible and are true to their word in preventing the spread of gender-based violence. That includes me, and it includes those who work for me and serve the people of Essex.
“We know this isn’t an issue that can be solved by one agency alone and Essex is united in that. That’s why we’re working with local councils, safety partnerships, and other partners to ensure that women and girls feel safer in public spaces.
“My officers, staff and volunteers work tirelessly to support victims, serve the public and, most importantly, deliver justice by locking up criminals every single day.
“But it would be naïve of me to suggest that we don’t need to continue to work hard to maintain the trust and confidence of the women and girls of Essex.
“National events can carry across the perception of all of policing, but we need to be a good example for the public to follow. I don’t want anyone working for Essex Police walking by and excusing unacceptable behaviour or committing it, and those found to have done either will be dealt with.
“We are your police force and we are here for you. We will continue to listen, to learn, and to deliver justice for victims of crime across Essex.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex was one of the first people to take the pledge. He said: “I will not tolerate violence against women. As a male leader in Essex, I need and want to stand up and condemn male violence against women.”
If you have been the victim of violence, we want to help you.
Please call 999 in an emergency, but if it’s not safe for you to speak, you can dial 55 when the phone is connected.
To find out about support that’s available to you in your local community please visit the SETDAB website.