Richmond Council has vowed affirmative action to tackle domestic abuse and male violence against women at the start of the 16 Days campaign today (November 25).

The council announced Thursday a new training programme for professionals in the borough and revealed it had become White Ribbon accredited (see below).

16 Days is a global campaign run by activists to challenge violence against women around the world, and marks its 30th year in 2021.

The campaign's start and end dates mark International Day Against Violence Against Women (November 25), and December 10, International Human Rights Day.

It calls for supporters to undertake various actions aimed at tackling violence against women in society including awareness raising community events and the building of links between women's rights groups around the world.

To mark the start of the campaign this year, Richmond Council revealed it had achieved White Ribbon accreditation, meaning it had officially committed "to a strategic approach to ending male violence against women by engaging with men and boys, changing cultures, and raising awareness".

The White Ribbon campaign engages with men and boys to tackle the prevalence of male violence against women by challenging prevailing culture that can lead to harassment and violence.

The council said it had recruited volunteers with the organisation to act as ambassadors in the borough, while Councillor Ben Khosa was appointed as its first 'White Ribbon Champion' designed to push the above agenda forward in the borough.

"We will set out an action plan of commitments for the next three years which will involve ensuring all Council staff have the knowledge and skills to address violence against women, as well as empower local communities to help end male violence," he said.

Meanwhile, the borough touted a training scheme it had partnered on with St Mary’s University and the Alice Ruggles Trust for training of over 200 professionals who signed up to 2-hour lessons on identifying risks, signposting and safety planning.

A 90-minute 'Community Conversation' on the subject has also been convened for December 9.

Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK Anthea Sully said:

"Our call to end violence by raising awareness, educating, and campaigning to bring about change is greatly strengthened by working together with our White Ribbon accredited organisations. Our partners are able to engage with many thousands of people to change the cultures that lead to violence against women and girls. We are delighted to welcome Richmond Council as one of our White Ribbon Accredited organisations. Together we can prevent violence happening in the first place."

According to the Home Office one in four women in the UK will experience domestic abuse and one in five sexual assault during her lifetime. Globally this rises to one in three.

The Crime Survey of England and Wales estimates 20 per cent of women have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 3.4 million female victims and 631,000 male victims. five in six victims (83 per cent) did not report their experiences to the police.