As part of activity to mark the 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence, the Civil Service has renewed its commitment to the White Ribbon NI Charter and has retained the Onus Gold Workplace Charter on domestic violence.
White Ribbon Day is marked on 25th November each year, which is the same day as the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls and is also the start of a period known as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence which runs to Human Rights Day on 10th December.
White Ribbon is a global movement to end male violence against women and began in Northern Ireland as a campaign within Women’s Aid with groups and individuals encouraged to sign the White Ribbon Charter and make a pledge never to commit condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
Women and girls in Northern Ireland are disproportionately affected by violence, abuse and intimidation. According to the PSNI, from April 2021 to March 2022, they made up 78% of all victims of sexual crimes, 68% of domestic abuse, 64% of harassment and as of April 2022, 95% of stalking crimes. Between 2017 and 2021 34 women and girls were killed by men across Northern Ireland.
The Civil Service first signed the White Ribbon NI Charter in 2019, committing as an employer to the importance of tackling domestic violence and abuse, its zero-tolerance approach to this crime and raise awareness of this issue.
Head of the Civil Service Jayne Brady was the first to sign the Charter on behalf of the organisation and commented;
"I’m proud that the Civil Service has renewed its commitment to the White Ribbon NI Charter.
As one of the largest employers here, we recognise the public role we must play in pledging to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
We also want to ensure that our own colleagues, who may be experiencing or at risk of abuse are supported - in October 2021 we launched a Domestic & Sexual Abuse staff policy and since then we have been raising awareness of the help available. We now have 78 trained Safe Place Advocates across the Civil Service and recently retained the Onus Gold Workplace Charter on Domestic Abuse which involves a rigorous assessment of our policy and practices as well as a commitment to further training.”
Tahnee McCrory, Chief Executive of White Ribbon NI commented;
“I am delighted that NICS has renewed their White Ribbon pledge and reaffirmed their commitment to ending violence against women and girls in Northern Ireland.
This powerful step reflects the dedication needed to foster a culture of equality and compassion where everyone feels respected, protected and empowered.”
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