The council has unanimously pledged to work to end violence against women and girls after dozens of people gathered outside the council offices on Thursday night to say enough is enough.

Councillors supported the move for BDBC to "do everything in its power to ensure women are safe", a motion put forward by Labour members after inspiration from the Women's Equality Party, which will see the council seek white ribbon accreditation.

It will see a male councillor appointed as an ambassador and the council will work with schools to encourage the end of male violence towards women.

Many councillors were wearing white ribbons in the chamber, given to them by residents who had assembled outside the council building ahead of the meeting. There were also many passionate speakers in the chamber, including Cllr Simon Bound who spoke about his own family situation.

Meanwhile, Cllr Kerri Carruthers spoke about the "small acts" that women have had to do to keep themselves safe.

"Earlier this week, I attended a parish council meeting. As the meeting ended, I left the building and it was dark. I messaged home to the tell them I was leaving and what time I would be home.

"I walked a long way home to make sure I was avoiding the less-populated and darker routes. As a woman I have been sub-consciously carrying out small acts like this without ever really questioning it, and just accepted this is part of being a woman.

"But this isn't about women. It's about men."

Cllr Paul Harvey added: "I stand in support of the motion. Violence against women is a serious prevalence and a preventable issue. I as a male councillor will make the pledge to do what I can."

Cllr Michael Howard-Sorrell, who moved the motion, said: "I shouldn't have to speak about this. This isn't about politics or points scoring. It's about committing to do better for women and girls in our borough.

"This year, we have all seen several headlines which tragically highlighted the issue of male violence against women. This movement has been around for over a decade. We can't change the past, but we can be better than our predecessors. We all know this motion is the right thing to do."

Reacting to the success of the motion, Stacy Hart, WE Basingstoke’s Branch Leader, added: “The majority of perpetrators of public sexual harassment, domestic abuse and rape are men and it is important than men are part of the work to end this.

"Those behaviours that are often excused as banter exist on a spectrum alongside crimes like the murder, sexual assault and domestic abuse.

"We have seen clearly over the past few months clear evidence of how our institutions are steeped in misogyny and sexism, and the consequences of that for women and girls.

"That is why it is vital to take a top down, systemic reform approach to violence prevention, and WE are thrilled that the council have taken the first step today.”