We're once again supporting 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.

This annual international campaign starts tomorrow and is also known as White Ribbon Day.

The council is encouraging anyone who feels they may be in an unhealthy relationship to take those first steps towards making a change.

The campaign runs until 10 December and begins with White Ribbon Day, when men can show their support by making the White Ribbon Promise and show solidarity to ending violence against women and girls.

Torbay Council was the first organisation in the South West to receive White Ribbon accreditation and actively promotes the movement.

The council is joining with local organisations including the Standing Tall Partnership to encourage people who are worried about their relationships to reach out for advice and support.

This doesn’t just mean reporting to the police. It could mean talking to a trusted friend or family member, GP, employer, faith leader or a local support service.

As part of the campaign, Torquay, Paignton and Brixham libraries will host Standing Tall drop-in sessions where people can access advice and support and anonymously report instances of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

During the 16 days, flashmobs will take place in Torquay, Paignton and Brixham on three different dates to raise public awareness and share information about local services that can support people.

Representatives from Standing Tall and Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services will stage a Riviera FM takeover on Friday 1 December when they will talk about domestic abuse and sexual violence and play relevant songs.

Partnership organisations will be getting together on Wednesday for a conference exploring how they can work together to end domestic abuse and sexual violence in Torbay.

Cllr Hayley Tranter, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, Public Health and Inequalities, said: “It’s important that people who feel vulnerable in their relationship know there is always somewhere to turn if things get bad.

“This may mean talking to a loved one, someone they work with or someone in their community – a faith leader or teacher. Domestic abuse and sexual violence can affect anyone of any age and background.

“We are lucky in Torbay that organisations work closely together to offer the right support for people. There will always be somewhere to turn for advice anonymously and confidentially.”

We work alongside partners including Devon and Cornwall Police, NHS Devon, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Probation Service, and the other South West Peninsula local councils; as well as the local community and voluntary sector Standing Tall Partnership, to support people who are vulnerable to all forms of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

We commission the Torbay Domestic Abuse Service to provide support and safe places to stay and Intercom Trust to provide the Safer Rainbow Project – delivering specialist domestic abuse support to LGBT+ communities.

We also work with Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services to ensure people experiencing sexual violence receive support.

Dates and times of drop-in sessions at Torbay libraries:

Torquay Library: Tuesday 28 November from 10am – 12pm

Paignton Library: Tuesday 5 December from 2pm – 4pm

Brixham Library: Tuesday 12 December from 2pm – 4pm

For further information about local services supporting people experiencing domestic abuse and/or sexual violence, visit the Are you OK? website.

We're committed to combatting violence against women and girls. We recently launched our Safety of Women at Night Charter and invited licensed premises to make a pledge to prioritise the safety of women at their venues.

It is also working alongside Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services to support Shout Up! Torbay, a training programme for staff in Torquay pubs and bars. The training will help them identify and eliminate sexual harassment of female customers.

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