Handprint banner to support abuse campaign

By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 29 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 08:17

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Buy photos » Coun Rebecca Blake, Redditch United chairman Chris Swan, council leader Bill Hartnett and footballer David Bridgwater. Picture by Neville Collins 47012018ncr1. Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com.

THE ANTI domestic violence message was reinforced in Redditch as footballers and councillors alike added their hands and voices to the campaign.

Redditch Borough Council members and Redditch United managers and players have all signed up to White Ribbon 16 Days of Action, a project aiming to eradicate abuse within the community. As part of the campaign, they have left their handprints on banners which will hang in the council chamber and at Valley Stadium as a reminder of their pledge.

United chairman Chris Swan told the Standard every footballer in the club had been enthused by the poster,

"We are very keen to help in whatever way we can to work with causes of it and stop the causes of it.

"One of the things we are keen to do is work with people who have been affected to get them to come in to the club in a volunteer capacity to build their confidence, as it is not just the abuse itself, the psychological effects often manifest themselves as a total lack of confidence and self worth."

Coun Rebecca Blake, responsible for community safety within the borough, called on her fellow members to join her in signing up to the pledge at a full council meeting on Monday (November 26), adding national and local events had highlighted how trust could be exploited and abusers left unchallenged.

"But these widely publicised events have also shown us what can happen when abuse is confronted, as one brave voice is heard, many others find the courage to speak. With this, support and healing can begin and justice can be pursued.

"So in this year, I believe that we who are in public life to represent the voices of others have a special responsibility to speak out against domestic abuse and sexual violence, to encourage survivors to seek support, to make clear to perpetrators that there can be no excuse for their actions and to help friends, family and workmates to recognise and challenge abuse."

Coun Pat Witherspoon urged councillors to ensure placing their handprints on the banner was not an 'empty gesture'.

"It's got to be more than that, make it meaningful, make sure you stand up and be counted and don't tolerate witnessing that sort of behaviour to either children or adults in the future."

Events during the 16 Days of Action continue on Friday (November 30) with These Heels Are Made For Walking, which will see men including Coun Bill Hartnett and Coun Brandon Clayton walk a mile in women's shoes to highlight the problem of abuse against women.

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