Police commissioner lends his support to campaign

From left to right are: White Ribbon Campaign ambassador Ikram Butt, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and White Ribbon Campaign UK founder Chris Green outside the White Ribbon Campaign Offices in Mytholmroyd
From left to right are: White Ribbon Campaign ambassador Ikram Butt, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and White Ribbon Campaign UK founder Chris Green outside the White Ribbon Campaign Offices in Mytholmroyd

A charity’s anti-domestic violence message is being spread far and wide with the support of West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Over the last two years Mark Burns-Williamson - via his Safer Communities Fund - has pledged a total of £18,500 to Mytholmroyd-based international charity the White Ribbon Campaign.

The most recent donation of £5,250 will be spent on recruiting, training and supporting 70 White Ribbon ambassadors to engage with their communities and in workplaces to promote respect for women, encourage men not to commit violence against women and not to remain silent if they know it is going on. Campaign ambassadors are volunteers and those already on the charity’s books include; sports stars, firefighters, opticians, deputy head teachers and Imams.

Last week, Mr Burns-Williamson was at the White Ribbon headquarters on Burnley Road to see first-hand how the money from his fund - made up from money recovered via Proceeds of Crime - is helping to end domestic violence.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I am delighted to be able to see exactly how the Safer Communities Fund money is helping to ensure people stay safe.

“Certain forms of serious crime, including domestic abuse and sexual violence, are of particular concern to people and partners across West Yorkshire and I have pledged to make more resources available to ensure we can work better in tackling violence against women and girls.

“That is why I am pleased to be able to support White Ribbon’s work and I know they share my view that victims need to come first ensuring they get help and support when they need it.”

Mr Burns-Williamson, who took part in the White Ribbon high heels walk as his first official engagement after being appointed commissioner in 2013, stressed the importance of the charity’s work and said anything that helped stop women becoming victims of abuse is vital.

Over the last few months White Ribbon has used money awarded from the commissioner’s fund to sign up sports clubs to committing to helping in the cause to eradicate male violence against women.

Money has also been spent on encouraging music venues, including Liquid nightclub in Halifax which has already signed up, to agree to a series of actions to keep women safe. This includes getting lone females safely into taxis and charging up phones that may have no battery life.

Founder of the White Ribbon Campaign in the United Kingdom Chris Green said: “Working with sports fans and players, music fans and venues helps to get the White Ribbon message to a new audience.

“The support of the Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson is invaluable to enable us to raise awareness in ending male violence towards women.”

Former England rugby league international Ikram Butt, who has been a White Ribbon ambassador for the last seven years, said: “Sports clubs provide a set of role models for young children to look up to. We’re engaging with grass roots clubs to further develop the Campaign and get the message across that men should respect women, never abuse them or remain silent to abuse.”

The campaign got 2015 off to an innovative start with the White Ribbon Songwriting Workshop led by Michelle Plum and Nick Hall, collectively known as Plumhall, and organised for White Ribbon by Dave and Viv Boardman, which included an evening concert.

For more information about the White Ribbon Campaign or to sign up to become ambassador visit www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk.

To find out how to apply for funding from the commissioner’s Safer Communities fund visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund.aspx