Residents urged to take on the Gwent White Ribbon Day #149Challenge

Residents across Gwent are being encouraged to take on the Gwent White Ribbon Day #149Challenge.

White Ribbon Day takes place on Wednesday 25 November and the #149Challenge aims to raise awareness of the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, highlighting the need to raise awareness and work towards ending male violence towards women.

#149Challenge represents the 149 women who were women were killed by men in 2018 across the UK. More than half were killed by a former spouse or partner, and almost all of them were committed by a man known to the victim.

In previous years a one-mile walk has taken place at various locations across the county, however, due to Covid-19, this will not be possible this year. Instead, it is being replaced with the #149Challenge and is open to everyone.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, explained:

“Covid-19 means the traditional walk to mark White Ribbon Day cannot take place; however, it is essential that we continue to do everything we can to raise awareness of abuse and the need for it to stop.

“Because of this, we are trying something new this year. We are encouraging people and organisations to take part in a #149Challenge and post their achievements online. People, schools, organisations, sports teams and community groups can set their own challenges focusing on the number 149. Keeping in line with social distancing is also important, so it could be a challenge you do alone or with a few people from your household, or as part of a group. It really is up to you.

“We already know of many organisations that are taking part, individuals and groups have set exercise challenges, White Ribbon rocks have been hidden and Newport County have pledged to wear White Ribbon T Shirts in support ahead of their game on Tuesday 24th November. I am really pleased that this very important day is being highlighted in such creative ways.”

The challenge can either take place on 25 November or anytime during the 16 days of action which ends on 10 December.

Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said:

“Tackling domestic abuse and protecting victims remains a priority for Gwent Police. It’s important to remember that domestic abuse does not discriminate - anyone can be a victim regardless of age, gender, sexuality or social background.

“It is not always a crime that is clearly visible, it can be hidden, so we all need to really look out for and help those in need. No one should suffer in silence and I would urge anyone suffering or witnesses this form abuse to report it. “I know it can be difficult to come forward and I want to reassure those who are suffering there is excellent support and advice available through our Connect Gwent victim’s hub, where we have specially trained support staff on hand to help.

“We also need to encourage people to speak out against these types of crimes and raise awareness of the terrible impact that they can have on people’s lives. Everyone can play a part in this.

“November 25th is our opportunity to shine a light on the impact domestic abuse and violence has on individuals, families and communities.”

An online support pack in a range of languages including, Bengali, Urdu, Polish and Slovak is available to download: https://www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/en/about-us/working-together/white-ribbon-day-2020/  and this includes ideas, art templates and suggested content for social media channels. Business and organisations can also show their continued support by becoming a White Ribbon accredited organisation, visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk  for more information.

Janice Dent, regional lead advisor for Gwent VAWDASV, said: “We hope that as many people as possible take part in this event to show their support and commitment to creating a world without violence towards women and girls.

“Sadly, too many people live in fear and suffer in silence. We know that victims find it hard to come forward, but it is vital that they do. I urge anyone who is experiencing abuse, or knows someone who is, to speak out.”

The Live Fear Free 24/7 helpline is available for anyone affected by abuse and supports victims, survivors and those close to them. Call 0808 8010 800 or text 07860 077333.