To coincide with White Ribbon Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November, Wokingham Borough Council has reaffirmed its commitment to tackling all forms of gender based violence.
The council will be supporting domestic abuse charity Kaleidoscopic UK as they mark the day with a candlelight vigil in Wokingham Market Place to remember all those who have tragically lost their lives. Resident are welcome to join the vigil at 7-8pm and are invited to bring torches and battery-operated candles only.
25 November also mark the start of 16 days of action against gender based violence, an international campaign supported by the council which runs until Human Rights Day on 10 December.
The council is encouraging male residents and local businesses across the borough to work together to end abuse before it starts by making the White Ribbon Promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.
Drop-in sessions across the borough
Working together with partners, the council will host drop-in sessions across the borough to engage with residents to encourage action and awareness against all forms of violence against women and girls including sexual assault, harassment, stalking and forced marriage. The team are also able to offer support and advice to all those affected by any kind of domestic abuse, including both female and male victim-survivors.
Supporting the government campaign ‘Enough’ which launched earlier this year, the council aims to prevent violence against women and girls by shaping the attitudes that normalise and tolerate this abuse.
Promoting equality and respect
Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services said: “Many of us have seen some form of abusive and harmful behaviour against women and girls, but it can be difficult to know whether to intervene. You may worry you’ve misread the situation and could make things worse.
“If you’re unsure about whether to intervene, think to yourself – does this person look uncomfortable or upset or seem frightened? Are they trying to escape or move away? We need to call out harassing, sexist and violent behaviour when we see it in others and promote equality and respect.
“We want to help educate, raise awareness, and campaign to bring about change. We understand that it is not just our female residents that need our help and protection. We want to be clear that we are here for all our residents, always. But this not about one or the other- we invite everyone in Wokingham borough to stand together to unite during the 16 days of activism, to work towards ending violence against women and girls.”
The development of a borough wide Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy has been approved by the council’s executive committee which outlines the council’s commitment to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls.
If you are being subjected to any form of abuse, or know someone who is, there is local support available. The Wokingham borough domestic abuse service is delivered by Cranstoun.
They provide support for male and female victims-survivors, children and young people and perpetrators. You can call 0118 402 1921 and speak to someone during office hours or their emergency duty service at other times. In an emergency please call the police on 999.
Events taking place during 16 days of action
Friday 25 November
12noon-4pm - Wokingham Market Place
Information stand offering help and support to those affected by violence against women and girls as well as anyone affected by any form of domestic abuse. Candlelight vigil will also take place at 7-8pm to represent all women murdered in the UK this year which will be hosted by Kaleidoscopic UK and supported by Wokingham Borough Council.
Monday 28 November
2.30pm-5pm – Spencers Wood Library
Drop in session for anyone in need of help and advice from the council’s domestic abuse support service, Cranstoun
Wednesday 30 November
9.30am–12noon - Woodley Precinct
The council’s domestic abuse coordinator and community safety team will be joining the Citizens Advice van to provide information and advice
Friday 2 December
10am-1pm - Woodley Library
Drop in session for anyone in need of help and advice from the council’s domestic abuse service, Cranstoun.
Tuesday 6 December
9am-12.30pm – FBC Centre, Finchampstead
Citizen’s Advice van will be on location offering help and support during their drop in session together with Kaleidoscopic UK members
Wednesday 7 December
9.30am–12noon – Asda, Lower Earley
Citizens Advice will be on location offering help and support during their drop in session together with the Council’s Domestic Abuse Housing Specialist
Thursday 8 December
10am–12.30pm – Lower Earley Library
Drop in session to highlight how domestic abuse affects older people, with presentation delivered at 11am by Hourglass older people’s domestic abuse service for Wokingham
1.30pm – 4.30pm – Wokingham Library
Drop in session to highlight how domestic abuse affects older people, with presentation delivered at 2pm by Hourglass
1pm-3pm - Cranstoun offices in Waterford House, Wokingham
Drop in session hosted by Cranstoun who provide our domestic abuse service
Friday 9 December
12noon–2pm – Wokingham Town Centre
Information stand with support and advice available from Cranstoun domestic abuse service and the council’s domestic abuse housing specialist
Further local support available
Kaleidoscopic UK, a local peer support service for adults and children: Contact via the website
SupportU local LGBT+ domestic abuse support: Contact via the website, or call 0118 321 9111 (10am – 7pm, Monday to Friday)
Hourglass, support for those over the age of 58 in Wokingham who are affected by abuse: 0808 808 8141
National Domestic Abuse Helpline (female victims): 0800 2000 247 (24 hours)
Mankind Initiative (male victims): 01823 334244
Male Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
National LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline: 0800 999 5428
Respect phone line (those worried about their behaviour): 0808 802 4040
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 999
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