Some of Merseyside’s most iconic buildings will glow orange tomorrow, in support of a U.N. campaign to break down the wall of silence surrounding domestic violence.
Saturday, 25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the region is showing its support with a two week long campaign to raise awareness about how people can support friends and relatives by helping them to speak out.
Orange is the official colour of the UNiTE campaign, symbolizing a brighter future free from violence against women and girls, and numerous buildings will be lit in solidarity between 5pm-7pm during the 16 days of action.
The venues include: The Town Halls of Birkenhead, Bootle, Liverpool and Wallasey, Merseyside Police’s HQ, the Cunard Building, Radio City Tower, St Luke’s Church (aka The Bombed Out Church), Liverpool’s Central Library and Crosby, the Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre in New Brighton and the Atkinson theatre in Southport.
Radio adverts will also be aired as part of the awareness campaign, funded by Liverpool’s City Safe partnership, to promote the website: www.womensaid.org.uk which acts as a one stop shop in providing information and details for support and advice for those suffering domestic violence.
According to the United Nations, 1 in 9 women in the UK annually suffer from domestic violence and two are killed each week.
The U.N. has called on international support for their UNiTE campaign which begins on 25 November and ends after 16 days of action on December 10, Human Rights Day, celebrating the signing of the famous U.N. charter in 1948.
This year people are asked to also use the hashtag #endvaw along with #orangethweorld and #16days.
People across Merseyside are also encouraged to wear an item of orange clothing throughout the campaign and show their support via social media.
Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner Cllr Emily Spurrell said: “It is completely unacceptable that violence remains a part of daily life for some women and girls, either in the community or in their own homes.
“Today we are taking a stand against abuse to make it clear it will not be tolerated. By wearing orange and lighting up some of Merseyside’s most iconic buildings in this vibrant colour, we are sending out a clear, visible message that we are supporting the UNiTE campaign for a brighter future for women and girls, free from violence and abuse.
“I hope that some of those women who do feel frightened and trapped realise they don’t need to suffer in silence and that there are lots of people and organisations who will help them if they need it. Merseyside Police is one of those organisations and I’m proud that headquarters will be glowing orange today to let all victims know that the police are on hand to help you to get the care and protection you need if you are escaping an abusive or violent situation. I
"am also proud to be working with our Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, and a host of partners to create a strategy aimed at putting a stop to all Violence and Woman and Girls in our region.”
Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of City Safe Partnership, said: "Sadly violence against women and girls is an issue that even in this day and age needs tackling. Abuse comes in many forms and with the rise of the internet and social media means abusers have developed new ways to intimidate and silence their victims.
‘’Friends and relatives of victims have a huge role to play in spotting signs and offering to listen. Often it is the first step in speaking out which is the hardest and we all know abusers love the sound of silence.
‘’I’m delighted we have such iconic landmarks turning orange on Saturday evening to showcase Liverpool ‘s support but even if people wear an item of orange clothing over the 16 days and share that on social media, that small gesture would be greatly appreciated. By raising awareness and providing the tools to educate people hopefully we can break down these walls and save lives.’’
Detective Superintendent Richie Salter from Investigations, Protecting Vulnerable People said: “We are very happy to support this campaign, which sends out a powerful message that women are suffering in silence and we have to encourage people to talk about what they are experiencing and seeing.
"We want men and women who know that offences are being committed but remain silent, as well as victims to get in contact. We all need to work together, not just the police with our partners in the local authority, NHS or charities but with members of the public to break the silence. White Ribbon Day and the following 16 days is a time to remember those that have suffered domestic violence but also to look forward in the hope of eliminating violence against women.
"Merseyside Police is dedicated to tackling all forms of domestic abuse. We want anyone suffering in silence to know we have specially trained officers to investigate domestic crime. We are focussed on listening not only to those that are victims but those that know people who are victims. We want them to come forward in confidence so we can take action.”
If you have been affected by crime, please visit Victim Care Merseyside for information, advice or to access support.