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In 2017/18, Police reported over 13,000 incidents of domestic violence in Cambridgeshire. This is more than one call every hour. On average, two women in the UK are killed every week by a current or former partner.

This International Men’s Day (19 November), four new White Ribbon Ambassadors for Cambridgeshire take the pledge to stand against domestic abuse and violence perpetrated by men.

Invited by Cambridgeshire County Council, which recently received the White Ribbon accreditation for its commitment to tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence, the new Ambassadors officially signed up and launched the campaign at Shire Hall today.

They are:

  • Cllr Kevin Cuffley – vice-chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee and lead member for community safety and domestic violence
  • Detective Superintendent Martin Brunning – police lead for domestic violence
  • Cambridge-based musician Gil Karpas
  • Gary Peile, Chief Executive of the Active Learning Trust.

The mission of White Ribbon is to end male violence against women, once and for all by working with men and boys to challenge those male cultures that lead to harassment, abuse and violence. The organisation works with individuals and accredited organisations, such as Cambridgeshire County Council, who pledge their support and commitment to engage with men and boys to call out such behaviour among their peers and promote a culture of equality and respect.

White Ribbon Ambassadors are committed to take the message out there; to schools and colleges, workplaces and festivals; to promote awareness of White Ribbon principles, to recruit other men, and generally help change the world for the better. 

The first action of the Ambassadors will be to mark White Ribbon Day on Sunday 25 November - the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this day, all men are invited to take the pledge - Never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women - and to wear a white ribbon in support.

White Ribbon Day will be followed by 16 days of actions to raise awareness of the campaign and the County Council’s work to tackle domestic abuse and sexual violence. Actions will include taking part in Cambridge City Council’s Domestic Abuse Conference (22 November) and the Local Councils Conference in Huntingdon (23 November). The campaign will be highlighted in all Cambridgeshire Libraries through Operation Lighthouse, a powerful book written by Luke and Ryan Hart, two brothers whose mother and sister were killed by their father after suffering years of abuse.

A piece of art is also being produced by Ruth Marley, from the Re-imagine Resource Centre in Witchford, to help promote the White Ribbon Campaign.

Find out more and pledge your support at https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/

About the White Ribbon Ambassadors

Councillor Kevin Cuffley is the lead member for community safety and domestic violence at Cambridgeshire County Council. He said: “At a Councillor meeting I attended, domestic abuse was on the agenda. This grabbed my attention as it is something I have personally experienced so I enquired about it and became deeply involved.

“I am very pleased that Cambridgeshire County Council has achieved White Ribbon accreditation which demonstrates our commitment to ending male violence against women.

“As a White Ribbon Ambassador I use every opportunity to raise awareness of the horrendous effects domestic abuse has on women and families and to engage with men and boys on these issues, encouraging them to speak out and be active bystanders, challenging abuse and violence against all victims, male and female, young and old.”

Detective Superintendent Martin Brunning is the Head of Public Protection at Cambridgeshire Constabulary. His portfolio role is to lead the development and practice of safeguarding across the organisation. Martin is a member of both Safeguarding Adults and Children’s Boards. He is the Co-Chair of the county-wide Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Group who work across agencies to ensure that there is focused and effective joined up practice to keep women and children safe.

Martin said: “Fundamentally, my role is to ensure that every interaction between the public and police recognises vulnerability when it is visible, and to ensure officers and staff have a present professional curiosity to identify vulnerability when it is perhaps less visible. I am keen to use my role as White Ribbon Ambassador to help create a culture where male violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls are seen as unacceptable.”

Cambridge-based musician and producer Gil Karpas has good links with Cambridge music venues including The Junction and is involved with the Cambridge Jazz Festival and other local music and arts events. He works as the Marketing and Events Manager for the Jewish Music Institute. He said: “The safety of women and girls at music venues and in the music industry more generally is an area of focus for the White Ribbon campaign and I am looking forward to work with these sectors to raise awareness of the issue and the actions they can take to tackle it.”   

Gary Peile is the Chief Executive Officer of the Active Learning Trust, which manages 10 schools in Cambridgeshire including Primary, Secondary and Special Schools, as well as schools in Suffolk. On signing up to become a White Ribbon Ambassador, he said: “I am keen to explore how we can support young victims of domestic abuse, bullying and violence particularly vulnerable groups, such as young carers, LGBT young people and children with special educational needs.”

Gary plays a vital role in building and sustaining relationships and professional networks between the Active Learning Trust schools, as well as working with local authorities and the Department for Education.

Clockwise, from top left: Detective Superintendent Martin Brunning, Cllr Steve Criswell, Gil Karpas and Cllr Kevin Cuffley.

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