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Sheffield Council earns accreditation to tackle violence against women and girls

The Council has committed to ending gender-based violence. But what does White Ribbon accreditation mean? 

Sheffield Council has received White Ribbon accreditation, demonstrating its commitment to ending gender-based violence in the city.

Sheffield joins other local councils including Chorley, Hull and Rossendale, and organisations like Yorkshire MESMAC and a handful of schools and police forces, in committing to:

  • encourage all staff to make the White Ribbon Promise to 'never use, excuse or remain silent' about men’s violence against women
  • recruit at least one volunteer man White Ribbon Ambassador (or woman Champion, if there are no men staff who can undertake this role)
  • hold at least one awareness and fund raising event or activity a year
  • ensure that women who are experiencing violence know where to get help.

The Council has pledged to deliver a “comprehensive action plan” that will include changing its culture and promoting gender equality across the city, building on the Ask For Angela scheme, developing sexual harassment resources, and supporting the city’s Violence Against Women and Girls Forum.

White Ribbon’s approach is interesting in that it has a particular focus on getting men and boys to take action – and responsibility – for male violence against women and girls. Rather than taking a surface approach to the problem of gender-based violence, it wants to get at the root causes.

“Simply not being violent is not enough," the organisation says. "All men can make a difference and stop violence against women before it starts.”

They provide resources and information on what men can do and how schools can tackle harassment and abuse, including a presentation for young people aged 14-18, a What Men Can Do flyer and a recommended reading list.

Sheffield councillor Angela Argenzio, Adult Health and Social Care Policy Committee Co-Chair, said the accreditation is "incredible news" for the Council.

"We will stand together to end violence against women and girls, and we will take every opportunity to educate, change behaviours and call out unacceptable behaviour whenever we see it.”

Tom smith white ribbon photo landscape

Tom Smith, Director of Direct Services at Sheffield City Council.

Sheffield City Council

Councillor George Lindars-Hammond, Adult Health and Social Care Policy Committee Co-Chair, said: “Through our work we are promoting a culture of respect and equality in our communities and amongst council colleagues. It is important to raise awareness in our organisation so that people can work together to call out violent and abusive behaviour when they see it, wherever they are."

Lindars-Hammond added that the Council will also encourage "other organisations, employers, businesses, and individuals" to get accredited.

We all now have a responsibility to hold Sheffield Council to higher standards and take proactive action to end gender-based violence, in all its forms, in our city.

White Ribbon accreditation should not be a goal in itself, but a starting point for a comprehensive plan to hold perpetrators to account and – crucially – prevent abuse before it happens.

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