Milton Keynes City Council is showing cross-party support for White Ribbon, a global campaign that encourages people, especially men and boys, to challenge behaviour and change the culture that leads to abuse and violence against women.
Positive action by the City Council led to it becoming White Ribbon Accredited last year. It has a range of supportive domestic and sexual abuse policies, offers guidance and training for colleagues, provides housing and support services for women and children who need to flee violence and abuse and has a range of measures to improve safety on the streets and in schools for local women and girls.
The City Council is also establishing a network of male ‘ambassadors’ and female ‘champions’ among its employees and councillors, to promote the message and raise awareness.
On White Ribbon Day (25 November), the MK Youth Council will share a poem to advocate their support of the campaign during a candlelit vigil in Campbell Park. Following this, events will take place across the city during ‘16 days of action’.
“Women and girls have the right to feel safe in our city. We all have stories from ourselves or our loved ones of being harassed, abused or even raped. For women and girls to truly be safe, we need to come together and commit to challenge behaviour and attitudes of men and boys across our city. Lots of people are signing up to be ambassadors and champions and I am asking local organisations of all sizes to join us and lend their support to these issues. Together, we can ensure that women and girls in MK can feel safe and supported by men and boys.”
- Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities
Using £750k of Home Office funding secured by the city council and its Safer MK partners, the city council has made upgrades to the city centre to give women more confidence they can be safe at night, including lighting and reflective paint in underpasses along popular pedestrian routes to increase visibility, CCTV, and cutting back bushes and shrubs at entry and exit routes.
Just 180 organisations have White Ribbon accreditation across councils, police forces, fire and rescue services, health authorities, housing associations, schools and universities. There is also a scheme for smaller organisations to become White Ribbon supporters.
Individuals can sign the White Ribbon UK pledge and get more information online at www.whiteribbon.org.uk