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Police join campaign to target violence against women over festive period

A SCOTTISH police force has teamed up with Rape Crisis and White Ribbon Scotland to launch a winter campaign targeting violence against women.

Lothian and Borders Police have joined the campaign to make men think about how their actions influence the actions of their children.

The festive period has consistently seen the highest amount of annual reports of domestic abuse, often peaking on New Year’s Day.

Posters and postcards featuring a father playing football with his son have been designed to send the message: “You’re his role model. Teach him violence against women is never OK”.

White Ribbon is a global organisation aiming to make men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

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

“That’s why Lothian and Borders Police 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.

“White Ribbon asks men to pledge 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, campaign co-ordinator for the White Ribbon Scotland campaign, said: “We are delighted to team up with Lothian and Borders Police to promote this campaign.

“The campaign highlights the importance of positive masculinity as we ask men to be role models for the young in their lives, and particularly their own children.

“We want children to be taught from an early age that masculinity is not about exerting strength or control.

“Fathers can teach their children that all are equal and that true strength is being supportive of those close to you and speaking out against attitudes which condone violence.

“As a society we often look to celebrities to provide us with role models and unfortunately the characteristics that some famous individuals can display give the wrong message in terms of what being a ‘real man’ actually is.”

The force will also reiterate last year’s Rape Crisis campaign, which concentrates on the subject of consent, reminding people over the festive period: “Drinking is not a crime. Rape is”.

Eileen Maitland, from Rape Crisis Scotland, 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.”

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