Unite this White Ribbon Day

It is well documented that violence and abuse towards women is disproportionate, and also often goes unreported. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (Office for National Statistics) shows that in 2019 to 2020, 2.3 million people, aged 16 to 74 years, are known to have experienced domestic abuse, of which 1.6million of the victims being women.  

For police recorded offences (Home Office Data Hub) supplied by 26 police forces in England and Wales:  

    • In 73% of domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2021 the victim was female, similar to 74% in the previous year. 
    • The rate of domestic abuse-related recorded crimes in England and Wales slightly increased from 13 per 1,000 population in the year ending March 2020 to 14 per 1,000 population in the year ending March 2021. 
    • Between the year ending March 2018 and March 2020, 76% of victims of domestic homicide were female. 

    This year White Ribbon Day falls on Friday 25 November and Hafod will be supporting the cause to end violence against women and girls and change long established and harmful attitudes, systems and behaviours that perpetrate gender inequality and violence against women. 

    We hope that by raising awareness of the campaign, change can be brought about. Will you help?

    Unite this White Ribbon Day and show your support by joining Bawso’s annual multi-faith light a candle event and make the White Ribbon Promise to never to use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women. 

    If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, help is available. Read our resources section below for information and helplines. For Hafod colleagues, there are additional resources available to you via Medicash or you can contact your HR representative.  

    White ribbon day logo

    Emergency helpline - What to do if you find yourself in a situation with an abusive partner

    If you are in the UK and find yourself in a situation with an abusive partner do the following;

    • Dial 999 from your mobile
    • Remain silent or cough
    • Wait to be prompted and then press 55
    • DO NOT hang up the phone

    You will then be transferred to the police who will ask a series of questions to try and obtain more detail about your situation.  These call handlers are highly trained to obtain details from callers who may not be able to speak.  They will use methods such as asking you to tap the handset, cough, or simple yes/no answers.

    The police may not be able to determine your location, so it’s important to try and provide as much detail as possible.

    Landlines do not work in the same way in that the 55 option isn’t available.  However, if the operator cannot decide whether the call is an emergency, they will still transfer the call to the police.  It’s also useful to know that if you need to disconnect a landline call for any reason, you can hang up and resume the call again within 45 seconds.  The operator will also forward this call to the policy.

    (Milne and Rahman, fullfact.org/crime)

    Resources and helplines

    Explore the websites below for more information and support. These resources are suitable for all involved in domestic abuse.


      The Knife Angel

      The Knife Angel is sculpture made from over 100,000 seized blades, which was specifically created to highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour. Not only does the Angel act as a catalyst for turning the tide on violent and aggressive behaviour, but it is also acts as a beautiful memorial designed to celebrate those lives who have been lost through these violent and thoughtless actions.

      The scuplture tours the UK as part of a national youth anti-violence educational programme to raise awareness of the devastating impact of violent and aggressive behaviour. Throughout November, the sculpture is at Friars Walk in Newport. 

      Find out more

      What are the physical signs of domestic abuse?

      If someone is being physically abused, they will likely have frequent bruises or physical injuries consistent with being punched, choked, or knocked down.  They’ll also likely have a weak or inconsistent reason for these injuries.

      Some signs of physical abuse include:

      • Black eyes
      • Bruises on the arms
      • Busted lips
      • Red or purple marks on the neck
      • Sprained wrists

      It’s also common for someone to try to cover up the physical signs with clothing. For example, you may notice that someone you care about is wearing long sleeves or scarves in the hot summer. Wearing heavier than normal makeup or sunglasses inside are also common signs of domestic abuse.

      What are the emotional signs of domestic abuse?

      Domestic abuse, of course, can take a serious emotional toll, creating a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or despair. Domestic abuse can cause people to believe that they will never escape the control of the abuser. They may also exhibit a constant state of alertness to the point they never can completely relax.

      Other emotional signs of abuse can include:

      • Agitation, anxiety, or constant apprehension
      • Changes in sleep habits (sleeping too much or not enough)
      • Developing a drug or alcohol problem
      • Extremely apologetic or meek
      • Loss of interest in daily activities
      • Low self-esteem
      • Seeming fearful
      • Symptoms of depression
      • Talking about or attempting suicide

      These symptoms, of course, could be due to many other conditions or factors, but they are typical of domestic abuse victims who feel they are trapped in an abusive relationship.

      How can domestic abuse create behaviour changes?

      If you notice that someone who was once outgoing and cheerful has gradually become quiet and withdrawn, it could be a sign of domestic abuse.

      You may notice that the person:

      • Becomes reserved and distant
      • Begins isolating themselves by cutting off contacts with friends and family members
      • Cancels appointments or meetings with you at the last minute
      • Drops out of activities they would usually enjoy
      • Exhibits excessive privacy concerning their personal life or the person with whom they’re in a relationship
      • Is often late to work or other appointments

      Signs of fear

      People who are being abused may seem anxious or nervous when they are away from the abuser, or they may seem overly anxious to please their partner. If they have children, the children may seem timid, frightened, or extremely well-behaved when the partner is around.

      Although victims may not talk about the actual abuse, they might refer to the abuser as “moody” or having a bad temper. They may reveal that the partner is particularly bad tempered when drinking alcohol.

      Sometimes, the fear a victim of abuse experiences is so intense they feel paralyzed to make decisions or to even protect themselves or their children. When the fear gets to that point, they will even turn down help offered to them by friends, family, or even professional protective services.

      Controlling behaviour

      Domestic abuse is not about violence, it’s about control. If you notice that someone seems to be controlled or extremely manipulated in all areas of their life, it could be a sign they are being abused at some level.

      Here are some examples of control:

      • Asking permission to go anywhere or to meet and socialize with other people
      • Constant calls, texts, or tracking by their partner wanting to know where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with
      • Having very little money available to them, not having access to a credit card, or having to account for every penny spent
      • Not having access to a vehicle
      • Referring to their partner as “jealous” or “possessive,” or always accusing them of having affairs

      Helping someone who is the victim of domestic abuse is a delicate matter. By learning some of the warning signs, you can feel more comfortable offering a sympathetic ear and seizing the opportunity to help a victim of domestic abuse or violence.

      If you are experiencing domestic abuse and these signs are all too familiar, know that what’s happening to you is not your fault. You are not alone and help is available some of which you can find through the resources on this page.

      (Buddy T, verywellmind.com, March 2020)