White Ribbon is an international campaign which recruits male ambassadors to interact with other men and ‘promote a culture of equality and respect’Sandy B/Geograph

Content Note: This article contains mention of gendered violence and abuse

Cambridge City Council announced yesterday (17/03) that it has retained its White Ribbon status which it first earned in 2015, “reaffirming [its] commitment to ending male violence against women and girls.”

White Ribbon is an international campaign which began in Canada in November 1991, whose mission is to end “male violence against women by engaging with men and boys to make a stand against violence.”

The premise of the campaign is that its ambassadors are male volunteers who interact with other men to “call out abusive and sexist behaviour among their friends, colleagues and communities to promote a culture of equality and respect”, with the White Ribbon Accreditation allowing organisations to commit to “a strategic approach to ending male violence against women by engaging with men and boys, changing cultures and raising awareness.”

In order to gain its White Ribbon Accreditation, the City Council has adopted a number of measures, including domestic abuse training for all council staff, ensuring that HR policies encompass male violence against women and domestic abuse, and appointing its own male White Ribbon ambassadors “to raise awareness of the campaign”.

Alongside its White Ribbon Accreditation, the City Council also became the fifth UK local authority to be awarded the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accreditation in December 2019.

The DAHA accreditation provides a benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse, “recognising that housing providers are in a unique position to identify abuse, prevent it and provide help for people suffering its effects.”

The City Council has committed to managing perpetrators of domestic abuse by creating documents on how to bar perpetrators from the council’s housing register, guidance for staff on amassing sufficient evidence to take enforcement action against perpetrators, directing survivors towards “external specialist legal services and options for providing sole tenancies [...] where a court order has not been obtained”, and reinstating survivors in tenancies under the same conditions as their prior tenancy.

Alongside this, the Council also works with Cambridge Community Safety Partnership and Cambridge Rape Crisis.

Cambridge Community Safety Partnership, made up of several agencies in the city, works collaboratively to tackle issues, such as those related to crime and antisocial behaviour. Their work also places emphasis on safeguarding young people against violence and exploitation, as well as aiming to ensure continued responsiveness to local community needs.


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Meanwhile, Cambridge Rape Crisis is a support network targeted at victims of forms of sexual violence. The Council also supports the ‘Ask For Angela’ scheme - which is led by Cambridge Business Against Crime and works in order to keep people safe while dating - and provides safeguarding and protective training to licensed taxi drivers.

Cllr Nicky Massey, Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety and chair of the Cambridge Community Forum on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse, expressed that she was “very pleased” by the council’s retention of the accreditation, as it “helps us to challenge male violence, reiterate how unacceptable it is and appeal to men to do more to challenge it.

The fact that cases of domestic abuse have risen during the pandemic, and last week’s shocking news about Sarah Everard, show that so much more needs to be done to end male violence against women.”

Cllr Russ McPherson, Mayor of Cambridge, who has been a White Ribbon Ambassador for the past six years, emphasised the importance of “celebrat[ing] the huge amount of work and dedication of officers at Cambridge City Council in securing our re-accreditation for a further three years as a member of the White Ribbon campaign.”