Burnley Football Club players have made it their goal to support the international White Ribbon campaign – which encourages men to make a stand and work to end violence against women.
The soccer stars, more used to wearing claret and blue, have turned claret and white to show their support for a campaign against domestic violence.
The players are great role models and their message will get across to a lot of their supportersDomestic violence co-ordinator
The players hope other men will follow their lead and pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Burnley is a White Ribbon Town, and various organisations including Burnley Council, Inspire substance misuse services, Calico housing association and Burnley FC, have pledged their support for the annual White Ribbon campaign against domestic violence.
Skipper Tom Heaton and several teammates got together at the club’s Gawthorpe training ground to wear white ribbons and fly the White Ribbon flag.
Manager Sean Dyche is also supporting the campaign and has been seen wearing the white ribbon in recent press conferences.
Louise Howorth, domestic violence co-ordinator, said: “A wide range of partners are working all year round to tackle the serious issue of domestic violence across our borough.
“It’s really great that Burnley Football Club has lent its support to the campaign. The players are great role models and their message will get across to a lot of their supporters.”
Neil Hart, chief executive officer of Burnley FC in the Community, said: “At Burnley FC, we are proud to pledge our support to this campaign. We hope that in flying the White Ribbon flag, we can help to highlight the issue to our supporters and, in turn, raise awareness for this important initiative against domestic violence.”
Comparing violence committed by women and by men, the British Crime Survey states that the result of men’s violence towards women is five times as likely to require medical attention.
Women are four times as likely as men to fear for their lives, and three and a half times as likely to be murdered by a male spouse than vice versa.
Money raised from donations for the white ribbons will go towards helping local women and children escaping domestic abuse.
Police forces in England and Wales are being “overwhelmed” by a “staggering” rise in domestic violence cases, watchdogs have warned recently.
There were 353,100 domestic abuse crimes recorded in the year to April – an increase of nearly a third, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
Zoe Billingham, of HMIC, said: “In some forces, there are simply not enough specialist staff to cope with the case loads and the increase in demand.
“This needs gripping now, but we don’t think it’s too late.”
Last year, a report on the issue made a string of damning findings and concluded that only eight out of 43 forces responded well to domestic abuse.
• If you feel unsafe in your own home, if your partner or other family member is violent or abusive to you, then there is help available.
You can get confidential advice and support from an experienced support worker at Burnley SafeNet Domestic Abuse Helpline and Outreach Service. Telephone: 07866 510 728.