Kirklees Council is lighting up town halls on Saturday (November 25) to mark White Ribbon Day and support the elimination of violence towards women and girls.

Also known the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, the White Ribbon campaign calls on men and boys to pledge to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence towards women and girls.

The national campaign is spearheaded by the charity White Ribbon UK which shares findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales that 1.7 million women have experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022, as well as results of a 2021 survey of 1,000 gym-goers carried out by OriGym which revealed six out of 10 women have felt harassed in the gym by a man.

To boost the sense of safety, particularly for women in Kirklees, the council supports a number of initiatives such as the operation of the Night Safety Bus in Huddersfield town centre.

The bus is staffed by drug and alcohol support service, Change Grow Live Kirklees, and provides a safe space and support for those enjoying the night life.

Street Marshalls are also on regular patrol on busy town centre nights, helping people as they move from one bar to another, and acting as a reassuring presence that helps to minimise crime.

The council has also recently launched a social media campaign to remind people of the ‘Ask for Angela’ safety scheme.

Ask for Angela is a scheme that encourages people to ask for help if they feel scared or uneasy on a night out. Asking for Angela is a discreet way to alert staff at participating venues that you need help to get away from a date, or situation where someone is making you feel uncomfortable.

The scheme operates in over 100 venues in town centres across Kirklees including pubs, clubs, restaurants and local libraries and whilst primarily introduced for women, it can be used by anyone.

Clr Mussarat Pervaiz, Cabinet member for communities, said: “I’m proud to support the White Ribbon campaign as part of our commitment to help end violence towards women and girls.

Whilst anyone could be a perpetrator, the reality is that most violence against women is committed by men.

“The term ‘violence’ covers a whole range of behaviours, from what some people could see as harmless banter, like cat-calling, to the tragic loss of a life. It’s important we recognise all these behaviours for what they are and challenge them in the right way.

“The violent or abusive behaviour of a few in our society is not acceptable. Only by working together and taking action can we expect to disrupt harmful attitudes, stopping them from becoming a norm or developing into something much worse.

“Men, in particular, can take an active role in preventing violence by recognising and stopping their own harmful behaviours, or those of someone in their friendship groups. But it doesn’t stop there.

“We each have a responsibility to call out wrong behaviour or report an incident so it can be acted upon by the right authorities.

“Whilst we hope people don’t need them, schemes like the Night Safety Bus, street marshalls and Ask for Angela act as a reassuring presence and all help to boost the feeling of safety for everyone enjoying the night life in Kirklees.”

The council is also backing a powerful new campaign launched by the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin.

Called ‘Just Don’t’, it aims to tackle everyday harassment and inappropriate male behaviour towards women and girls.

The campaign features the story of five men who make excuses for their inappropriate behaviour and harassment in everyday situations, before escalating to a chilling finale.