TODAY marks the launch of an international campaign aiming to end violence against women.

The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence has pledged to support the White Ribbon Campaign, which urges men in the county to pledge never to condone or accept violence against women in any form.

Entitled The 16 Days of Action, the campaign will run until Tuesday, December 10.

Among those backing the campaign are the Worcester Wolves basketball team, former Worcester Warriors star Craig Gillies and Worcester City Council.

On Thursday dozens of men donned heels for a mile long walk in support of the campaign.

Mr Gillies said he was supporting the campaign for the second year.

“It's certainly a worthy cause,” he said. 

“It’s not something I've had personal experience of thankfully but it is an issue I've always felt a strong connection with. 

“Nobody should act that way towards a loved one.”

Martin Lakeman, strategic co-ordinator for the forum, said: “The 16 Days of Action was originally launched in Canada in 1991.

“The dates are symbolic, in that November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day and December 10 is International Human Rights Day.

“It’s an important event, as it helps to highlight what can be done to tackle violence against men, women and children at a local level, supported by events and activities throughout the world.”

Today’s launch event, at the University of Worcester, features Worcester’s Poet Laureate, Holly-Anne Perrett, as well as representatives from the Worcester Wolves, university students and staff, the Mayor of Worcester Pat Agar and High Sheriff Nicholas Wentworth-Stanley and his wife Millie.

After the launch event, Deputy Lieutenant Lady Susanne McFarlane will visit the Glade in Bransford – home to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) – to tie a ribbon around the tree that Lord Lieutenant Lady Darnley planted 12 months ago.

Today also marks the official launch of the forum’s new website, where men can sign up and make their pledge, with the campaign – backed by your Worcester News – targeting 10,000 commitments before the end of the 16 days.

Mr Lakeman said: “Since the 16 Days campaign began in 1991, more than 2,000 organisations in 156 countries have taken part in a bid to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women.

“Worcestershire fully supports this ethos and is working hard locally to raise awareness and open up the channels of communication regarding what is so often a hidden issue.

“We are heartened by the level of support and interest that The 16 Days of Action campaign receives locally.

“We work hard all year round to raise awareness of the misery that domestic abuse causes to families throughout Worcestershire.

"However an event such as this really helps bring it to the forefront of people’s minds.

“Raising awareness of what is so often a hidden issue is vital in addressing – and ultimately overcoming – domestic abuse. The simple message is, do not suffer in silence.”

Visit to make your pledge, and tweet using #whiteribbonworcs to feature at

For further information about the Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence please contact Martin Lakeman on 01905 822 357.

To call in confidence about domestic abuse, call 0800 9803331.