The End Domestic Abuse campaign takes place from 25 November (White Ribbon Day) until 10th December 2023 (Human Rights Day) and is part of the worldwide 16 Days of Action. The initiative is led by the Kent and Medway Integrated Domestic Abuse Services partnership and provides free training for employers and a range of resources to help people to know, see and speak out about domestic abuse.
The campaign comes at a vital time, as the cost-of-living crisis and upcoming Christmas period pose an escalation of risk for those experiencing domestic abuse. It aims to give people the knowledge and tools to reach out for help and be able to support friends and family.
Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and socio-economic background. “Laura” is a survivor of domestic abuse and says:
“Noticing the abuse was a gradual thing. He made all sorts of accusations and blew up; he grabbed me and then called me aggressive when I didn’t cower. He took all our passports and threatened to destroy them. He would borrow money and cause a big fuss when it was time to pay it back. Abuse is something people feel ashamed of, they feel like they shouldn’t really talk about it, because people might see you as a weak person.
“If you are getting into a new relationship, I would really recommend using Clare’s Law [where someone can check with the police if a current or former partner, or partner of a family member or friend, has been violent or abusive in a previous relationship]. It’s not prying, it’s keeping yourself safe. I felt like I knew him, but I didn’t. He had a history of dangerous abuse. He could have talked me back into a relationship, but instead he admitted to abusing me in court.”
Organisations are encouraged to become Employer Champions where they can benefit from free virtual training during the 16 Days, membership to the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA), and practical information and policy advice for supporting colleagues and employees affected by domestic abuse.
Everyone can get involved in the campaign by using the free resources. These include social media posts to share with followers and networks and printable posters that can be put up in venues and communal spaces.
“...it’s so important that all of us; family, friends and colleagues stay vigilant for and report any signs of abuse, particularly at this time of year.”
Dan Watkins, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. We shouldn't assume there is a typical victim, but we can notice certain behaviours and provide support to protect people from abuse. This is why it’s so important that all of us; family, friends and colleagues stay vigilant for and report any signs of abuse, particularly at this time of year. We can all play our part by joining the 16 Days campaign.”
“Thank you to everyone involved in supporting victims in Kent and working hard to eradicate this appalling crime.”
As part of its ongoing commitment to tackle domestic abuse, KCC is a White Ribbon UK accredited council, empowering women to stand up against harmful attitudes and behaviours that can lead to harassment, abuse, and discrimination.
Ben Watts, KCC General Counsel and White Ribbon Ambassador added: “Earlier in my career, I saw first-hand the devastating effect male violence against women and domestic abuse can have on the victims and their families. These crimes are often unseen, with the victims suffering in silence, feeling ashamed, helpless, and alone.
“Campaigns like White Ribbon and the Kent and Medway #KnowSeeSpeakOut End Domestic Abuse Campaign work to shine a light on this type of abuse and to show that violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue. We ask men to recognise and speak out against attitudes and behaviours that are harmful, something we encourage at Kent County Council.
“I am honoured to be the KCC White Ribbon Ambassador and to support these very important campaigns, to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls.”
In an emergency, call the police on 999 (if you can’t speak, cough, or tap the handset then press 55 on your phone – the police will know it’s an emergency).