Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Commits support to the White Ribbon Campaign

Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has pledged its support to the White Ribbon Campaign. The Campaign was founded in 2005 and the organisation works to challenge male cultures that lead to harassment, abuse and violence.

It also comes on the day that the Service has announced that it has achieved White Ribbon Accreditation, showing its commitment to working towards ending male violence against women. To achieve White Ribbon Accreditation an organisation must produce a challenging three-year action plan which covers raising awareness, changing culture, and specifically engaging with men and boys.

Whilst all genders can experience domestic violence and abuse, the White Ribbon campaign was created by men and is aimed at men, to ensure that they take more responsibility for reducing levels of abuse against women.  It focuses on the belief that change will only occur when men accept their responsibility to make changes.

The service has teamed up with Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness and Northumbria Police to sign the promise in support of the Campaign, which was founded in 2005.

TWFRS Chief Fire Officer, Chris Lowther commented:

“It is essential that all men take a stand against violence towards women. We need to be able to challenge the behaviours we may see in ourselves, our families and our friends that perpetuate any acceptance of this type of violence.

As firefighters we too often see the consequences of violence against women. Some of the incidents we attend involve men using fire as a means of harming or trying to harm women, and one of our prevention activities involves fitting letter box locks and sash jammers where there has been a threat of violence and arson.

In the 21st Century it seems incredible to me and my staff, that abuse and violence towards women remains a problem in our society.

Therefore my Service is publically committing to doing whatever it can to help reduce the incidence and hopefully play its role in eradicating it.”

In 2018 TWFRS fitted 144 sash jammers and 176 flaplocks in properties in Tyne and Wear. A significant proportion of these were to protect women being threatened with domestic abuse/violence from current or previous partners

As part of the Campaign, two fire engines from Newcastle Central and Sunderland Central fire stations will display the White Ribbon Campaign’s logo and the Service is promising to help raise greater awareness amongst Tyne and Wear communities. The promise states:

“I promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.”

While national and international stats are worrying, it important to note that there are around 30,910 reports of domestic abuse in Northumbria each year – which equates to an average of 2,576 incidents per month and 2,216 victims every month.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said:

“As the campaign says – we need to end violence once and for all. For me, I want to go right back to the beginning and tackle the issues that lead people to behaving this way. I am committed to preventative work – educating our young people on healthy relationships and consequences is crucial.

“I also want victims to be aware of the help and support that is available to them throughout our region. This is something I’m building on through commissioned services as part of my Violence Reduction Unit. Nobody should suffer in silence.”

The Service will also be working with its staff – many of whom are seen as role models within their communities – to encourage them to actively support the Campaign and raise wider awareness of how all men can challenge harassment, abuse and violence.

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Bacon said:

“Protecting those who are vulnerable in the communities we serve is our number one priority and that includes victims of domestic abuse.

We all have a role to play in tackling what is a truly abhorrent crime. That is why I am delighted that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service are standing alongside us in supporting White Ribbon Day.

We can all make a real difference and send a strong message that domestic abuse will not be tolerated.

I would appeal directly to anyone who is a victim of such abuse to please come forward – we are here to listen and can help provide the vital support you need.”

Notes to Editors

The promise was signed at TWFRS’s headquarters in Barmston-Mere, in conjunction with Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness and Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Bacon.

If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency, or visit the ‘Tell us Something’ pages of Northumbria Police’s website. Victims can also contact Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 who will give independent advice and support.

For more information about domestic abuse advice search Northumbria Police online. All the Force’s webpages have a ‘hide page’ function and there is guidance on deleting your internet history. If you have concerns about using your own devices, contact a close friend or family member to use their device or use the internet access at a local library.

For more information on the White Ribbon Campaign go to: