Islington Council, Arsenal in the Community and White Ribbon UK have teamed up to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse in the borough – and what is being done to tackle it – ahead of the football World Cup which starts this month.
At ‘Show Domestic Violence the Red Card’, a community football tournament held yesterday (Wednesday 6 June), eleven teams of all ages, genders, shapes and sizes competed to be crowned champion.
The tournament aimed to raise awareness of local services available to support residents dealing with domestic violence, with all players wearing white ribbons and over 50 people signing the White Ribbon pledge never to excuse, commit or remain silence about male violence towards women. White Ribbon, Solace Women’s Aid and other organisations were also on hand to give out information and advice.
Research indicates that incidents of domestic violence can increase by up to 25 per cent across the UK during football World Cups. Arsenal are clear that this abuse has no place in the game.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “One in four women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, which is completely unacceptable. We must all do our bit to tackle it. This month, let’s make watching the World Cup a source of fun, not fear.
“Islington Council is committed to creating a borough where no form of domestic violence or abuse is tolerated and where those affected can get the help they need. We are delighted to be able to work with both Arsenal and White Ribbon UK to spread this important message.”
Alan Sefton, Head of Arsenal in the Community, said: “We are proud to work with Islington Council and White Ribbon UK to deliver an event that raises awareness of domestic violence. We are able to engage with people through the Arsenal name, so it’s crucial that we use this opportunity to support important campaigns like White Ribbon, to make a positive influence on our borough and the wider community.”
Anthea Sully, Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK, said: “We are delighted that Islington Council has recently achieved White Ribbon Status, and are working with local partners including Arsenal Football Club to ensure that the message across Islington is clear: violence against women and girls will not be tolerated. By working together within our communities, we believe a future without violence and abuse is possible”.
The council has recently been awarded official White Ribbon accreditation in recognition of its work tackling domestic violence and abuse, which includes funding support services for victims, as well as enlisting male ambassadors from the organisation who urge male colleagues to pledge never to commit, excuse, or remain silent about male violence against women. Many councillors and council staff – both men and women – have completed White Ribbon UK training this month.
Earlier this year, the council and partners launched The Anchor, a ‘one stop shop’ service supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse.
The Anchor is a confidential drop-in service and is open to anyone aged 16+, male or female, who wishes to attend.
Support is available there for a wide range of issues, including specialist domestic violence and abuse advice, housing advice, family support, drugs and alcohol services and assistance from the Metropolitan Police. The Anchor is open on the second and last Wednesday of every month from 10am – 1pm at the St John Street Area Housing Office, EC1V 4NB.
The council is also supporting victims of domestic violence by training GPs, dentists and other health workers to identify the signs and refer victims to appropriate services should they wish to access them.
Two new specialist services to help domestic violence victims with complex needs have also started this year – the WiSER project, which helps women experiencing severe domestic abuse to access support services for the first time, and the FLIC project, which gives specialist housing advice.
The council has also developed a new toolkit to help staff understand the signs of female genital mutilation (FGM) and how to report it.
For confidential advice or support relating to domestic violence you can call the freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
In an emergency, always dial 999. Anyone with information about such a crime can call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.