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PCC’s office remains committed to ending men’s violence against women and girls

One year on from becoming a White Ribbon accredited organisation the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) remains as committed as ever to ending violence against women and girls.

To mark the first anniversary of accreditation, PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie invited county leaders to a special meeting to discuss the everyday choices and actions men can take in Norfolk to ensure women and girls can live their lives free from the fear of violence.

The event took place on Thursday, 23 November – ahead of White Ribbon Day 2023 when men and boys across the county are encouraged to make the ‘White Ribbon Promise’ to never use, excuse, or remain silent about men’s violence against women.

White Ribbon Day takes place on the 25 November each year and is also the start of 16 days of Action to Prevent Violence Against Women. This year the charity, White Ribbon Org, has urged individuals and organisations to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls.  

Leaders and representatives from Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk Probation Service, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, Breckland Council, Broadland and South Norfolk Councils, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and Norwich City Council met with Giles to pledge support for the national campaign and consider how local changes can be made to help make a difference to women and girls, on White Ribbon Day and beyond.

“Only by working together can we make real change and as leaders I believe it crucial, we show our collective commitment to such change,” said Giles Orpen-Smellie.

“I believe we have a duty as leaders, to drive the change and shift the focus on the changes men can make to #ChangeTheStory so women and girls across Norfolk can feel safer.

“We must start by encouraging individuals across our organisations to challenge the seemingly ‘harmless’ attitudes and behaviours that have created a culture of acceptance of violence against women and girls.”

During the meeting, leaders were asked to pledge to work together to make Norfolk a county where women and girls feel safe and are safe.

They were encouraged to:

All organisations, large or small can become White Ribbon UK Accredited and heading into its second year of accreditation, the OPCCN remains committed to spreading the vital message.

The OPCCN is a relatively small organisation, but has a huge reach, overseeing the Norfolk Community Safety Partnership, and aims to encourage as many other Norfolk partners as possible to follow suit in becoming accredited.

Mark Stokes, Chief Executive of the OPCCN and Chair of the Norfolk Community Safety Partnership, said: “As an office we already do so much work to tackle violence against women and girls, not least being the biggest funder of domestic abuse and sexual violence services locally and holding the police to account for their key role in responding to violence against women and girls.

“Becoming a White Ribbon accredited organisation seemed absolutely the right thing to do so myself and colleagues, can spread the message across Norfolk that violence against women and girls should not and will not be tolerated.

”As we enter into our second year of accreditation we remain as committed as ever to challenging and changing the narrative in Norfolk and hope others will follow suit.”

To achieve accreditation, the OPCCN developed a three-year action plan which focused on four core criteria and offered achievable goals to bring about genuine change, which included: strategic leadership, engaging men and boys, changing culture, and raising awareness. 

A steering group was formed by members of staff within the OPCCN who signed up to be either a White Ribbon Ambassador or Champion and made the White Ribbon promise to abide by its Code of Conduct.

The group have been meeting regularly to gain, sustain and drive White Ribbon accreditation and make progress on actions, including:

·       reviewing office policies and procedures

·       producing a new starter induction training pack

·       providing training inputs to the wider office

·       scrutinising Norfolk Constabulary’s performance regarding VAWG

·       developing victim service packs which can be distributed to partners on request