Communities rise to the #149Challenge for White Ribbon Day

Residents and organisations across Gwent have been thanked for taking part in the Gwent White Ribbon Day #149Challenge.

The event aimed to raise awareness of White Ribbon Day, the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

In 2018, 149 women were killed by men in the UK. More than half were killed by a former spouse or partner, and almost all of them were committed by a man known to the victim. The #149Challenge aimed to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and encourage anyone experiencing it to seek help.

A wide range of challenges were completed by people of all ages, including running for 149 minutes, swimming 149 lengths, painting and hiding 149 rocks across Gwent, placing 149 white ribbons around Blaenavon and Pontypool Park, and making 149 homemade Christmas cards to be given out in a local residential home.

The campaign gained the support of local sports clubs, including Newport County, whose players wore White Ribbon Day t-shirts during their warmup for their match against Walsall. The club also installed a White Ribbon banner in the Bisley Stand at Rodney Parade.

Young people who participate in the PL Kicks Community group in Alway, which is run by Newport County and partly-funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, took part in a discussion to raise awareness of safe relationships and violence against women. The group also took on its own #149Challenge, which involved 149 passes of the ball during their session.

Sport Caerphilly also got involved, encouraging local sports clubs to take part in a variety of activities. A different challenge was set every day between 25 November - 10 December, which was the end of the 16 days of action that supports White Ribbon Day.

Gwent Regional VAWDASV Partnership Board, a multi-agency collaboration working across Gwent to prevent violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence, coordinated the #149Challenge.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, expressed his thanks to everyone who took part: “I was overwhelmed by the support of organisations, groups and people across Gwent to this year's #149Challenge.

“It was inspiring and I was in awe throughout with the wealth of innovative and creative approaches that were evident across Gwent. To see young people being involved and informed of the issues that can affect both themselves and their families can make a big difference to our future generations.

“Chief Constable Pam Kelly and Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman led the way at Gwent Police, setting their own personal challenges to highlight the importance of White Ribbon Day. We share a clear stance that domestic abuse cannot be tolerated and that anyone experiencing it needs to seek help. Abuse can happen at any time, to anyone. Please if you are experiencing abuse, speak out. Do not suffer in silence.”

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, help is available:

  • The Live Fear Free helpline is available 24/7 by calling 0808 8010 800 or texting 078600 77333.
  • Victims of abuse can contact Connect Gwent victims’ hub on 0300 1232133.
  • To report an incident to Gwent Police, call 101 or send a message to Gwent Police social media desk @gwentpolice. In an emergency, always call 999. If you are unable to speak, press 55 to let the operator know communication cannot be made and they will send help.

* Photo credit Nicola Jones - Newport County Football Club