Leeds handed accolade for its war on domestic violence

Domestic Violence Plaque is given to the Leeds White Ribbon group. Pictured from the left are Coun Andrea McKenna,Chris Green, Stephen Shaw, Coun Judith Blake, Coun Peter Gruen, Ikram Butt. Picture by Simon Hulme

Domestic Violence Plaque is given to the Leeds White Ribbon group. Pictured from the left are Coun Andrea McKenna,Chris Green, Stephen Shaw, Coun Judith Blake, Coun Peter Gruen, Ikram Butt. Picture by Simon Hulme

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LEEDS has launched a renewed war on domestic violence - with men being encouraged to take the lead on wiping it out.

Supporters and representatives of the White Ribbon campaign – an internationally recognised initiative which engages men in tackling violence against women – gathered at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday for round-the-table talks.

The campaign’s director, Chris Green, said the city had “already achieved so much”, and presented a plaque recognising the work done so far. Leeds is the first city to receive the accolade.

Mr Green also called on policymakers and citizens to unite to do more.

He told the gathering: “We ask men to be ambassadors, because it’s men’s responsibility.

“We commit 90 per cent of all ongoing violence.

“Women’s organisations too are very supportive of men taking that responsibilty. And in lots of locations, men listen to other men. That’s why we engage a lot in sport and music, because these are largely male institutions.”

He said taking collective responsibility for the social scourge was important.

He added: “It has something to do with all of us - all of us as allies. We can spread the word and make change happen.”

Guests included deputy leader of the council Judith Blake and councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for safer and stronger communities. They spoke of the city’s ongoing work to reduce the 14,000 or so annual reported incidents of domestic violence in the city in recent years.

The event was co-organised by former Leeds Rhinos rugby player Ikram Butt, who is leading local work on the White Ribbon campaign, and has already engaged the rugby community in extensive work.