"There's no excuse for domestic abuse and those who turn a blind eye to violence against women are as culpable as the abusers."
That's the message from South Ayrshire Council this year, again supporting White Ribbon Scotland's 16 Days of Action – an international initiative which begins on 25 November – and an emphasis on reaching out to young people.
Through the South Ayrshire Multi-Agency Partnership (MAP) on Violence Against Women and Children, a host of activities and promotions are planned during the 16 days – headlined by a drama premiere, which was commissioned by South Ayrshire Women's Aid, and written by a teenage girl as a way of coping with her experiences of domestic abuse.
This year the Council's role in the campaign will be particularly high profile as it joins an initiative led by Police Scotland with Aberdeen City, East and North Ayrshire Councils, in piloting a six month Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse (based on Clare's Law in England) allowing women to find out if their spouse, or partner, has a history of abuse against women.
Locally, the Council will also be asking men to sign up to the White Ribbon pledge of never committing, condoning, or remaining silent about men's violence against women in all its forms.
Councillor Ann Galbraith, Chair of the MAP on Violence Against Women and Children, said: "Every ten minutes in Scotland, an incident of domestic abuse is recorded – one of more than 60,000 such incidents every year.
"This is totally unacceptable and we're more determined than ever to eliminate violence and abuse against women and children, as no-one should ever experience the horror of domestic abuse."
From 25 November to 10 December, in addition to the drama, 'Is This Love?' the Council will be supporting and promoting the campaign with:
- Support for the Border Policing Command Day of Action at Prestwick Airport to raise awareness of violence against women
- Football project in Kyle Academy - fathers and sons taking part in a five a side match, standing together to say no to domestic abuse
- High profile banners at rugby clubs
- A special showing of the anti-stalking film 'Friend Request' in local schools (written and produced by senior pupils from South Ayrshire schools)
- Advertising and publicity in licensed premises
- A seminar for staff on the theme of sexual exploitation
- Information visits to schools and nurseries promoting the white ribbon campaign
- A projection onto the wall of the Gaiety Theatre.
"The Sixteen Days of Action is a vital way to promote these messages and practical action, such as the pilot disclosure project and brings us closer to our goal of having no woman or child, anywhere in the world, having to endure the misery of an abusive partner."
"The White Ribbon Campaign sends out a clear message of hope – that people do care and support is available. The more men who sign the pledge, the more chance we have of changing attitudes and standing up to those who think it acceptable to abuse women and say 'enough'".
Councillor Rita Miller, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Social Services and Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership added: "Violence against women is totally unacceptable and those who turn a blind eye to it are just as culpable as those who commit the abuse.
"It's time for it to stop and for us all to tackle this issue head on. Locally, our support for the 16 Days of Action is one way we can send out this message, as well as promoting the options available to women living with domestic abuse, who often feel imprisoned by their situation, feeling they have no-one to turn to, or nowhere to go.
Councillor Galbraith concluded: "Get involved during the 16 Days of Action. Come along to an event, show your support, wear a white ribbon and please, sign the pledge.
"Remember, you can still show your support anytime during the year, so let's stand together and say, loud and clear: "There's no excuse for domestic abuse"."
For further information on the White Ribbon Campaign and the 16 Days of Action, visit:
To sign the pledge and make your own commitment to ending violence against women and children, visit www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk.