Hundreds of betting shop customers in South Lanarkshire have backed a campaign to challenge violence against women.

The campaign – a joint initiative by anti-domestic abuse charity White Ribbon Scotland, the betting shop trade body ABB Scotland and Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse - was held to coincide with 16 days of activism in support of women worldwide that began with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and concluded with UN Human Rights Day.

Betting shop operators Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill also supported the initiative.

Customers visiting local betting shops during the campaign were asked to sign the White Ribbon pledge 'never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms’ and over 550 backed the pledge.

Christina McKelvie MSP, a long standing campaigner against gender based violence, said: “The vital importance of this campaign is the way in which it really brings awareness where it is most required. Only through peer pressure can the message of Zero Tolerance really ‘hit home’ to the - mostly men – who are the offenders.

“I commend White Ribbon Scotland for its participation in this great team effort an am delighted to see how successful it has been in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.”

Davy Thompson, campaign director for White Ribbon Scotland, added: “White Ribbon Scotland is a grassroots campaign which relies on word of mouth to promote equality and respect, with a view to reducing and ultimately eliminating violence against women. To achieve this, it is essential that we reach out to men throughout Scotland and this campaign with bookmakers does that in a very direct manner. The most basic thing men can do to end violence against women is to speak up against it.”

Donald Morrison, spokesman for ABB Scotland, said: “This is the second campaign we have run with White Ribbon Scotland in betting shops this year. In both campaigns, our customers have sent a very clear message that violence against women should never be committed, condoned or ignored.

“We are committed to continuing our partnership with White Ribbon Scotland in 2019 with new campaigns around the country.”