16 days of action under way to end gender-based violence

Eliminating gender violence is the aim of ‘16 Days of Action’, an international campaign which had a local launch in East Ayrshire this week.

East Ayrshire Council, along with East Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership and partner agencies, demonstrated their support at the campaign launch and pledged to support an end to gender-based violence.

Established in 1991, the campaign raises awareness of the reality of domestic violence and pushes for positive change to increase women’s and men’s safety.

East Ayrshire schools, Ayrshire College, Police Scotland, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, East Ayrshire Womens’ Aid and Barnardos are among those who will be holding many events and activities over the 16 days to promote this important message.

The campaign starts just as a petition has been launched calling for more funding to be given to support those affected by gender based violence. This comes following last year’s tragic news about 18 year-old Aberdeen University student Emily Drouet taking her own life after being abused by her boyfriend.

Emily’s mother is hoping that extra money will be made available to colleges and universities to increase the help available in the form of counselling, as well as further promotion of existing services to support those who are experiencing mental health issues as a result of violence. The petition will be handed to the Scottish Government.

Councillor Jim McMahon, East Ayrshire’s White Ribbon Champion, said: “My thanks go to everyone who came along to support the launch of 16 days of action. We must work together to do all that we can to prevent terribly sad cases like Emily’s from happening again. No one should have to go through what she did, especially at such a young age. People need to know that help is available and that they’re not alone.

“The campaign continues to grow every year with more and more people getting involved and speaking out about gender-based violence and we need to build on this momentum to bring about real change so that no man or woman has to experience domestic, sexual, emotional or physical abuse. I would encourage everyone to sign up to the White Ribbon Pledge at www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk. ”

East Ayrshire Council supports the campaign and is also an affiliated White Ribbon Local Authority Area. White Ribbon Scotland is a campaign to involve men in tackling violence against women. It is a joint initiative by a coalition of organisations, individuals and groups of men around Scotland.

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