Organisations in Wolverhampton are organising ‘orange events’ in support of the United Nations’ Orange the World: End Violence Against Women and Girls campaign. The 16 days of action started on Wednesday 25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – continues until Thursday 10 December, 2016, which is Human Rights Day.
Organisations across the city, from small community groups to large public sector organisations such as the City of Wolverhampton Council and West Midlands Police, are working together to ‘Orange Our City’ to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, such as domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour-based violence and sexual violence.
The colour symbolises a brighter future and a world free from violence against women and girls.
Organisations are being invited to use a range of ways to turn the city orange over the 16 days of action including turning their websites and social media orange, changing the colour of their logo, getting staff to wear orange, lighting their buildings orange and much more.
In Wolverhampton, the statue of Prince Albert in Queen Square is sporting an orange sash for the 16 days of activism together with an explanation of what the campaign is about, while women who have experienced domestic violence and are supported by The Haven have worked together to produce a quilt made from hand embroidered fabric squares, each one containing a personal reflection on ending violence against women and girls, which is on display at the Civic Centre.
At The City of Wolverhampton College, screensavers have been turned orange for the 16 days, while the Students Union is making and handing out orange ribbons on campus and putting on a display, and attendees to the Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum AGM on Thursday are invited to wear something orange.
Alan Coe, Independent Chairperson of Wolverhampton Safeguarding Adults Board and Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Violence against women and girls in all its forms is illegal and totally unacceptable. All partners are committed to working together to identify and support women and girls who experience such violence.
“Turning Wolverhampton orange is an important part of our work to raise awareness of these issues and make sure that people know how to get the help and support they need.”
Linda Sanders, Chairperson of Safer Wolverhampton Partnership and the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Strategic Director, People, added: “Through close partnership working we have made significant progress in addressing violence against women and girls.
“We all have a part to play in building on this success, mobilising our communities, and using our partners’ range of resources and powers. We are developing more effective ways of working together including implementing a multi-agency safeguarding hub in the city.
“This will enable us to share information more effectively in order to achieve our shared outcomes of reducing the prevalence of these crimes and holding perpetrators to account.”
Hilary Williams, Chairperson of Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum, said: “Partnership working is absolutely fundamental to responding to and preventing violence against women and girls. These issues are cross-cutting; they are crimes, community safety matters, public health concerns, and adult and child protection issues.”
Kathy Cole-Evans, General Manager at Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum and Wolverhampton’s Violence Against Women and Girls Lead, said: “We are developing more direct engagement with our communities to take a stand against violence against women and girls and to help themselves and others seek help where they need to.
“We are also delivering more training to front line staff from a range of different organisations to enable them to recognise, and respond more effectively and earlier to these issues, and so prevent the serious harm that such violence inflicts. ”
Anyone worried about or suffering from any domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour-based violence or sexual violence should call the relevant helpline:
· The Haven Wolverhampton 24 hour Helpline for women and men – 08000 194400
· National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 2000 247
· NSPCC FGM Helpline - 0800 028 3550
· Karma Nirvana helpline for victims of honour violence and forced marriage 0800 5999 247
· In emergencies call 999 and ask for the police.
Individuals and organisations are invited to join and contribute to the online story locally by telling us what they are doing to ‘orange the city’ via Twitter @wvsafeguarding and using the hashtags #orangetheworld or #16days or Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Wolverhampton-Safeguarding-1585943911645135