- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Anti-violence campaigner Joyce Watson AM and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes-Wales are hosting an event at the National Assembly for Wales today (25 November) to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Women.
The White Ribbon campaign encourages people to make a public pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. It is aimed at men – but women can show their support by wearing a white ribbon.
The Mid and West AM will be joined by the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews AM, and representatives from across Welsh public life – charities, educational institutions and public service organisations. Members of Scarlets rugby club, who are backing the campaign, will also attend the event.
Joyce Watson AM, who began White Ribbon campaigning in Wales over ten years ago, said:
“I’m delighted that so many groups, organisations and ambassadors have joined the campaign this year.
“By signing the Not in my Name pledge and wearing a white ribbon, people of all ages can send out a powerful message – that violence against women and girls is never acceptable, should never be ignored, and must never be excused.”
Earlier this year, the Labour AM wrote to every secondary school and college in her constituency to promote the campaign. Pupils from Coedcae Comprehensive in Llanelli are travelling to Cardiff Bay to tell politicians and delegates how they are promoting the respect agenda.
Mrs Watson has gathered cross-party political support for the campaign, urging AMs from all parties to sign up to her White Ribbon Day pledge.
The Assembly reception is part of two weeks of Not in My Name campaign activity organised by Mrs Watson and the WI. It is the third year that the women’s organisation and the Assembly Member have joined forces to recruit male ambassadors for the White Ribbon campaign. This year there is wider use of social media and more events, including a special White Ribbon pledge at the Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors Pro12 match at Parc y Scarlets on Friday (21 November) night.
The Not in My Name campaign has been supported by the Welsh Rugby Union, Wrexham FC, Newport County FC, Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey Team, Only Men Aloud, NFU Cymru, Farmers’ Union of Wales, the Wales YFC, and a number of local male voice choirs and sports clubs across Wales.
Ann Jones, Chair of NFWI-Wales said:
“One in four women in Wales will experience domestic violence at the hands of a partner during their lives, and 150,000 women in Wales will suffer some form of gender-based violence.
“Engaging with men and boys is crucial in challenging the inequalities and attitudes that contribute to violence against women. WI members across the country have been using their local links to gather support for the campaign. Last week, members of Fishguard and District Roundtable pledged their support by signing the Not in my Name poster, and a number of WIs have activities planned next week with groups such as male voice choirs and rotary clubs.
“We are delighted that this important campaign is building such awareness.”
The Welsh Government has published a Bill aimed at improving the Public Sector response in Wales to gender-based violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The Minister for Public Services and Mrs Watson began White Ribbon Day, meeting White Watch at Ely Fire Station. South Wales Fire and Rescue Services are the first fire service in the UK to receive White Ribbon accreditation.
Mr Andrews is working with public sector organisations to introduce workplace policies. A short film which has been produced in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, marking one year of work since all Public Services introduced work place policies on gender-based violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence, is also being launched today.
Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews said:
“All too often these insidious crimes are perpetrated behind closed doors, and frequently there is more than one victim. Friends and family are affected, and children in homes where violence is a way of life also suffer deeply
“The work of the White Ribbon Campaign UK is vital in emphasising everyone has a duty to speak out against domestic abuse and violence against women and to act if they have any concerns.”