A campaign to tackle violence against women is being launched in betting shops in South Lanarkshire with the backing of Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
From Sunday 25 November, betting shop staff from bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral will take part in the week long campaign in support of White Ribbon Scotland, a group which campaigns to end gender based violence. Staff will ask men who enter their shops to sign the White Ribbon Scotland pledge 'never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms.'
An earlier campaign, held this summer in the Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn constituency of SNP MSP Bob Doris, saw more than 750 people sign the pledge in just one week. Buoyed by their success, campaigners are determined to take their message to other parts of Scotland.
The latest campaign will involve 17 betting shops in the Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse constituency where local MSP Christina McKelvie has long campaigned against domestic abuse. She is a past co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Men’s Violence against Women and Children and was the keynote speaker at White Ribbon Scotland’s annual conference this week.
The campaign is being launched on Sunday 25 November to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Ahead of the launch, betting shop staff will take part in a White Ribbon Scotland training and information workshop in Hamilton, attended by Christina McKelvie MSP.
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, said: “I have been involved and supportive of the White Ribbon Campaign in Scotland since it began here in 2006. I think it is not just important that men themselves set the example, but absolutely crucial. We need a real shift, a real cultural change to end the notion that men’s violence against women is just ‘one of those things’ that we have to accept.
“It absolutely is not. And it is the normal, average kind of men who need to stress that reality. Only from within that broad group – men – where the perpetrators exist can we make that message real. It’s that peer pressure that brings about change.”
Davy Thompson, campaign director of White Ribbon Scotland, said: "If we are to end violence against women in Scotland it is essential that we engage men to help make the changes required. The first of these is to speak up and create an atmosphere in which it is clear it will not be tolerated and neither will the sexism and inequality which condones it. Engagement through local bookies has been shown to reach large numbers of men who step up to take the pledge and make it clear that they will not ignore this issue."
The betting shop campaign is being coordinated by ABB Scotland, the trade association for high street bookmakers.
ABB Scotland spokesman Donald Morrison said: “ABB and its members Willian Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral are pleased to support this campaign by White Ribbon Scotland. We are grateful for the support of Christina McKelvie MSP, a long standing and passionate voice against domestic abuse, who has been instrumental in delivering this campaign.
“This campaign is not about stigmatising men, the vast majority of whom would never contemplate violence about women. It is about encouraging men everywhere to take a stand against domestic abuse. The success of our previous betting shop campaign in Glasgow far exceeded expectations and shows that more and more men are prepared to take such a stand. We hope that this latest campaign in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse will similarly raise awareness about this issue.”
For more information about White Ribbon Scotland visit www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk