Kicking-off the White Ribbon campaign, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and West Mercia Police have teamed up to provide special armbands to sports organisations across the three counties.
White Ribbon UK is a national campaign engaging with men and boys to end violence against women and girls, with this year’s theme focusing on #ChangeTheStory.
At the launch of West Mercia’s campaign, Worcester City FC wore the black armbands during their home match against Slimbridge FC on Saturday 25 November.
The first team were joined by Deputy PCC Marc Bayliss, Mayor of Worcester Louis Stephen and Police Constables Mandie Gregg and Sean Haines from Worcester Safer Neighbourhood Team.
Over 800 armbands have been distributed to be worn by players at their fixtures during the 16 days of action. Teams include Worcester Wolves basketball teams, the Worcester City Women’s Football team, AFC Telford, netball teams across Shropshire, Herefordshire FA teams, Telford Hornets and Telford Tigers, plus many grassroots sports teams.
The armbands are a visual representation to show solidarity with and advocate for women and girls to end gender-based violence.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “It’s important to not only be anti-violence against women and girls but be a vocal ally and call out harmful behaviour when we see it.
“As part of the White Ribbon campaign, this collaboration with West Mercia Police will see sports teams across West Mercia getting involved and wearing black armbands to stand up for women and spark conversation.
“Through my Safer West Mercia Plan, I am committed to making a real difference and this is only possible with the support of influential organisations in the region.”
Assistant Chief Constable, Rachel Jones said: “As part of this year’s White Ribbon campaign, we have engaged with sports teams across the force area and this year we are asking individuals, especially men, to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls so that they may live their lives free from the fear of violence.
“It’s wonderful to see such a cross section of sports getting involved including football, basketball, netball, rugby and ice-hockey.
By wearing the White Ribbon armbands, sportsmen and women across the force area will be showing their support never to use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women.”