Police campaign to keep the Christmas peace for women

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LOCAL police are launching a campaign to combat violence against women in the run-up to Christmas.

The festive period is the worst time of year for domestic abuse and the Lothian and Borders force has teamed up with Rape Crisis and White Ribbon Scotland for the winter campaign

Safe Communities Inspector Paul Matthews said: “Most men are not violent towards women, but many people ignore the problem, or feel it has nothing to do with them.”

About five per cent of all annual domestic abuse incidents in the area are reported between December 24 and January 4.

This year’s campaign concentrates on inviting men to recognise that what they do influences their children.

Posters, postcards and other media featuring a father and son playing football have been designed with the slogan, ‘You’re his role model. Teach him violence against women is never OK.’

Inspector Matthews said: “We decided to run a campaign this year that highlighted the positive effect men can have on the children in their lives, rather than turn them away with images of abused women, which they might feel they have no direct connection with.”

This year’s message was created with White Ribbon, the global campaign to make men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

Inspector Matthews said: “White Ribbon encourages men not to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. We believe that all men have a part to play in reducing violence against women.”

Callum Hendry of White 
Ribbon Scotland said: “The campaign highlights the importance of positive masculinity. We want men to realise that they are crucial role models for the young and to dispel any notion that abuse of women is ever acceptable.”

The police are also re-running last year’s successful Rape Crisis campaign which focuses on consent, reminding festive revellers, ‘Drinking is not a crime. Rape is’.

Police are urging people to remember no matter how much she has drunk, no matter what she is wearing, no matter if you’ve already kissed – sex without consent is rape. If there is any question over whether a woman has drunk too much to give consent, assume she hasn’t given it.

Rape Crisis Scotland’s Eileen Maitland said: “Rape Crisis Scotland is delighted to see Lothian and Borders Police taking a strong stand in challenging the idea that women who are drunk are somehow responsible for rape.

“It is vitally important to broaden people’s awareness so that they realise that sex with someone who is too drunk to consent is rape.”

Many events in campaigning against violence against women have been cancelled, including a ‘reclaim the night’ march against sexual violence and for gender equality through the centre of Galashiels.