30 November 2021
The annual awareness raising White Ribbon Campaign – ‘Stand up and Speak out’ against Domestic Abuse – funded by the UN Development Programme St Helena Domestic Violence Project and coordinated by the Social Care Directorate concluded on Friday, 26 November 2021. The aim of this campaign was to highlight how important men are in ending abuse against women and children.
The White Ribbon Campaign 2021 commenced on Thursday, 18 November, and included awareness raising through radio interviews, the private sector, staff of St Helena Government (SHG) and Non-Government Organisations wearing white ribbons (the symbol of anti-violence), persons signing pledges to ‘Stand up and Speak out’ against Domestic Abuse and pinning them to large cardboard cut-outs in the shape of a ladies shoe, displaying and lighting Wooden White Ribbon Images at various locations in Jamestown in honour of survivors and victims of domestic abuse, footballers wearing white ribbons before their matches and also signing pledges. A White Ribbon Campaign stall set up at the Post Office, and leaflets on Domestic Abuse were also available for the public.
Six men also attended the Twilight presentation session which was held at Kingshurst Community Centre. The presentation focused on abuse of woman and girls on St Helena, the effects of domestic abuse on children, conditioning from parents relating to domestic abuse, remorse, norms and values, victim blaming, barriers to contacting services for support on-Island, barriers to giving support on-Island, barriers to women being able to leave, healthy and unhealthy relationships, control, coercive control and the outcomes of this behaviour, conflict resolution techniques and the different ways men manage their emotions, what they would do if someone they knew made a disclosure, and if they would phone for help / or go to the police if a woman was being domestically abused.
The men also discussed the possibility of role modelling and teaching children what to do when having issues in a relationship as a way of helping break the cycle. A consistent issues was the concern of what others would think or do if they felt people were trying to intervene when a woman was being abused. This was because of the size and community aspect of the Island, as well as self-preservation.
On Thursday, 25 November, (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), Elected Members, St Helena Government Officials, and members of the public participated in the White Ribbon Parade through Jamestown. During the march, participants chanted ‘say no to domestic violence’ to show disapproval against domestic abuse towards women and girls and carried banners displaying anti-domestic violence messages.
Following the march a Ceremony was held at the Mule Yard and included speeches from Miss St Helena, Latisha Fowler, Minister Jeffery Ellick (Face of the Campaign), United Nations Project Manager, Nicolene Adams, and Portfolio Director of Health & Social Care, Michele Wheeler. Minister of the Health & Social Care Portfolio, Martin Henry, also gave a speech [annexed to this release]. Addressing those in attendance, the Minister said:
“Domestic abuse as we know is an area of hidden harm, often impacting more families than most people are aware of and remains the main reason for referrals to Social Care. St Helena, like other parts of the world, recognise the impact of domestic abuse upon women and children, but also men within our local community. This year’s campaign has focused on men taking action against domestic abuse towards women and girls within our community and I am pleased that so many men took the time to learn more about this difficult subject.”
United Nations Project Manager, Nicolene Adams, concluded:
“The Domestic Violence Project is in its seventh year. The Government of St Helena, and Health & Social Care Portfolio wish to sincerely thank the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the extensive financial, administrative and strategic support for the past seven years. The support and guidance that has been graciously provided to St Helena has resulted in the establishment of a Safe Haven and all the services we now have. Women and men on the Island can now access intervention support programmes as outreach clients.
“We wish to sincerely thank and acknowledge the work of my partner UNDP Programme & Operations Associate, Petra Valastinova, who has continually provided guidance and support during the roll out and establishment of the Project for the past seven years; without her I would not have been able to manage the Project. I would like to thank the UNDP Project Board which is made up of UNDP and SHG staff which includes our Director, Tracy Poole-Nandy and Human Rights Commissioner and WISH Chairperson, Catherine Turner.
“Since 2017, SHG co-funded the Domestic Violence Project and over the years committed to the Project by taking ownership of funding new policies, expenses linked to transitioning from care to independent living facilities, staff salaries and the day to day running of the Safe Haven.
“Lastly I wish to sincerely thank the White Ribbon Campaign Committee members, led by Independent Domestic Violence Advocate, Debbie Knipe, Rosie Flatman, Nicole Hercules, David Brickland, Nicole Paulsen, Latisha Fowler, Pamela Ward Pearce and Jodie Scipio-Constantine. To each of you I extend my gratitude for your commitment, patience, creativity and sacrifices made during this Campaign.”
#StHelena #WhiteRibbonDay #StandUpAndSpeakOut
30 November 2021
White Ribbon Campaign Ceremony Address
The White Ribbon Campaign here on St Helena has again, with the hard work and dedication of the Committee, been a successful one, raising the awareness of domestic abuse and the impact upon the victims, their children and wider families. Domestic abuse as we know is an area of hidden harm, often impacting more families than most people are aware of and remains the main reason for referrals to Social Care. St Helena, like other parts of the world, recognise the impact of domestic abuse upon women and children, but also men within our local community. This year’s campaign has focused on men taking action against domestic abuse towards women and girls within our community and I am pleased that so many men took the time to learn more about this difficult subject.
Children who witness domestic abuse are more likely to be exploited, use illegal substances, engage in criminality, have poorer academic outcomes than their peers or also become the victim or perpetrators of domestic abuse.
To mitigate these risks and provide a response to survivors, here on St Helena we have a dedicated Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (Deborah Knipe) who supports survivors and their families by means of direct work, safety planning and refuge management. We have refuge provision for women and children, providing a safe place where they can begin, with the support of all partner agencies, to plan a new life. Over the past 12 months we have supported six service users in accessing refuge, providing them with a place of safety free from abuse and harm.
We also conduct Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences, managing the highest levels of risk in relation to domestic abuse on St Helena. United Nations funding is supporting the process of reviewing our legislation so that we are in line with the United Kingdom, but more importantly to address abusive behavior, which impacts so many.
Minister of Health & Social Care
25 November 2021