A PROTEST is planned for this Thursday to call on the borough council to take action to protect women and girls against male violence.

Members of the Women’s Equality Party Basingstoke are inviting the public to join them at 5.30pm on October 14 outside the borough council offices, before councillors decide whether to commit to becoming White Ribbon accredited.

The party put forward a proposal to the council in March to become White Ribbon accredited, which would show the council’s commitment to end male violence against women.

White Ribbon UK was founded in 2005 and is part of a global movement to end male violence against women. It is a charity that works with men and boys to challenge those male cultures that lead to harassment, abuse, and violence.

Following WE Basingstoke’s proposal, the Labour group put forward a motion to commit to White Ribbon accreditation at this Thursday’s council meeting.

A spokesperson for WE Basingstoke said: “We will be outside the council offices from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Thursday to hand out White Ribbon info and need as many of you as possible to join us and show why ending violence against women and girls must be a local priority.”

They added: “Enough is enough. Raise your voice with WE and ask our council to protect women and girls.”

The party highlighted various statistics to make their case for White Ribbon accreditation, including that rape convictions in the UK are at an all-time low.

In Basingstoke, WE said that between April 2019 and March 2020, 739 domestic abuse victims were referred to the Stop Domestic Abuse service for support, which went up to 926 between April 2020 and March 2021 – an increase of more than 20 per cent.

Of those referred in Basingstoke, 95 per cent were female.

WE Basingstoke wants to work with the borough council to “show meaningful commitment to ending violence against women and girls”.

They said: “The need to change behaviours in order to avoid and prevent violence against women and girls has never been clearer. Public sexual harassment, domestic abuse, and rape are not only committed by men, but they are in the majority of cases. It is therefore vital that men lead the way in changing these attitudes and behaviours.

“The Basingstoke branch of the Women’s Equality Party (WE) proposes that BDBC establish a White Ribbon Working Group with the aim of achieving White Ribbon accreditation for the council. WE are supported in this proposal by Stop Domestic Abuse, the service provider for domestic abuse support in Hampshire.”

It added: “The establishment of a White Ribbon Working Group would demonstrate that BDBC is truly committed to the eradication of attitudes and behaviours that have led to the fears described widely in the media since Sarah Everard’s disappearance.”

To achieve White Ribbon accreditation the council would have to develop and commit to a three-year action plan to engage with men and boys, raise awareness, and change culture.