Sporting stars back county’s domestic abuse campaign

Some of Worcestershire’s most high profile sporting teams are backing a local campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Worcester Warriors, Worcester Wolves, Kidderminster Harriers, Worcester City Football Club and Bromsgrove Rugby Football Club have all pledged their support.

The international campaign – which is supported locally by The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse – was launched on Sunday 25 November and runs until 10 December. Entitled The 16 Days of Action, The Forum is running a host of events and initiatives throughout the period.

The teams support offers a welcome boost to the issue of domestic abuse which has also received the backing of actress and the nation’s favourite Oxo Mum, Lynda Bellingham. 

Dean Schofield, Captain of the Worcester Warriors said : “Domestic abuse and sexual violence is an evil which everyone must stand up to.  It should never be ignored and nobody should have to suffer in silence.  At the Warriors we are encouraging fans to support the white ribbon campaign.”

Team mate Craig Gillies said : “The white ribbon campaign is all about sending out a strong message against domestic abuse and sexual violence.  It’s an issue which impacts on people from all walks of life and it needs to be eradicated.  Everyone should get behind the campaign and make a stand.”

Steve Burr, Manager of the Kidderminster Harriers said : “Kidderminster Harriers are delighted to support the white ribbon campaign against domestic abuse.  We hope that the team’s involvement will also encourage our fans to champion the cause.  Football influences a substantial section of our community and if our support can help in raising awareness of the issue, then it will be more than worthwhile.”

As part of the campaign throughout the county, The Forum is keen to raise awareness of how domestic abuse is being tackled in Worcestershire.

In previous years, The Forum has organised a number of high profile events including an abseil down Malvern Fire Station, support from The Worcester Wolves basketball team as well as candle lit peace vigils throughout the county.

The 16 Days of Action was originally launched in Canada in 1991; the dates are symbolic in that the 25 November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 10 December is International Human Rights Day.

Martin Lakeman, Strategic Co-ordinator for The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse said: “Since The 16 Days campaign began in 1991, more than 2000 organisations in over 156 countries have taken part in a bid to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women.  Worcestershire fully supports this ethos and is working hard locally to raise awareness and open up the channels of communication regarding what is so often a hidden issue.

“We are heartened by the level of support and interest that The 16 Days of Action campaign receives locally.  We work hard all year round to raise awareness of the misery that domestic abuse causes to families throughout Worcestershire; however an event such as this really helps bring it to the forefront of people’s minds.  Raising awareness of what is so often a hidden issue is vital in addressing – and ultimately overcoming – domestic abuse.  The simple message is, do not suffer in silence.

“We’d like to thank our local sports teams for their support and hope that their involvement will send a strong message into our communities that domestic abuse will not be tolerated.”

Although The 16 Days of Action is a campaign that aims to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women, The Forum is committed to supporting male victims in abusive relationships and will be highlighting this as part of the campaign.

For further information about The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse please contact Martin Lakeman on 01905 822 357.

Figures surrounding domestic abuse in the UK make for sobering reading :

  • 45 per cent of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking;
  • Around 21 per cent of girls experience some form of child sex abuse;
  • At least 80,000 women suffer rape every year;
  • In a survey for Amnesty International, over 1 in 4 respondents thought a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing revealing clothing and more than 1 in 5 held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners;
  • On average, two women a week in England and Wales are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner.  This constitutes nearly 40 per cent of all female homicide victims;
  • 70 per cent of incidents of domestic abuse result in injury – compared with 50 per cent of incidents of acquaintance violence, 48 per cent of stranger violence and 29 per cent of mugging;
  • Around 85 per cent of forced marriage victims are women;
  • Domestic abuse is estimated to cost victims, services and the state a total of around £23 billion a year.

To call in confidence about domestic abuse call 0800 980 3331.