25 November is International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and local volunteers from Soroptimist International have been supported by Sunderland Youth Council to shine a light on the cause.
Violence against women and girls is a global issue and figures show two women a week are killed by a current or ex-partner in England and Wales.
Women experience higher rates of repeated victimisation and are much more likely to be seriously hurt or killed than male victims of domestic abuse. In addition, women are more likely to experience higher levels of fear and are more likely to be subjected to coercive and controlling behaviours.
Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement of 75,000 club members in 122 countries that aim to transform the lives of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. Sunderland is one of 13 clubs in Northern England.
Sunderland Youth Council members aged 11-19 represent the voices of young people in Sunderland and are supported by Together for Children, which delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council.
The 2019 theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape’ and the Soroptimists, supported by Sunderland City Council, are lighting up Sunderland landmarks in orange.
Like in previous years, this year's International Day also marks the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December 2019, which is International Human Rights Day.
Sunderland Youth Council supported the volunteer group with a stall in The Bridges shopping centre where they handed out leaflets and orange ribbons to highlight the cause.
Jill Colbert, Chief Executive of Together for Children, said: “I applaud the work of the Soroptimists to highlight this important cause. We know that domestic violence, family conflict and alcohol and substance abuse are major factors in child-protection cases.
“And here at Together for Children we are actively engaged with organisations that support victims of domestic abuse by training our frontline staff to support those in need.”
Pat Howe, of Sunderland Soroptimists, said: “Our group aims to transform the lives of women and girls through empowerment and education, so this cause is close to our hearts and we are grateful to all those that have supported the campaign.”
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling or abusive, you can contact the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk. And to find out more about Together for Children visit www.togetherforchildren.org.uk.