Published: 07/02/2019 19:00 - Updated: 07/02/2019 16:41

Highland betting shops help in domestic abuse battle

Written byNeil MacPhail


The campaign launch was supported by MSP John Finnie (second left) and MP Drew Hendry (second right).

A campaign to tackle violence against women is off and running in betting shops in Inverness and Dingwall with the support of local politicians.

Staff from bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Scotbet are taking part in the campaign in support of White Ribbon Scotland, a charity which campaigns to end gender based violence.

Staff will ask male customers to sign the White Ribbon Scotland pledge “never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms.”

Two campaigns in Glasgow and Hamilton secured more than 1300 pledges. The latest campaign involves all 12 betting shops in Inverness. Shops in Dingwall and Elgin will also participate in the campaign which runs till Monday, February 11.

Betting shop staff attended a White Ribbon Scotland awareness workshop in Inverness and were joined by Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry, a newly-appointed ambassador for the charity, and Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s cross party group on men’s violence against women and children.

Mr Hendry said: “In recent years, men have been taking a more active role in tackling the issue of violence against women and campaigns like White Ribbon are key to increasing that commitment. Reaching out into what has been seen as traditionally male environments, like the local bookies, is a good way of reinforcing the message that gender-based violence is unacceptable. After all, if we are to see real change, we all need to get involved.”

Mr Finnie said: “It is sadly clear that male violence against women and children is unfortunately still a scourge across our communities. It’s vital that men engage robustly in addressing and making clear to other men that is unacceptable. Most importantly, we need to reach out into environments where men are, and campaigns like White Ribbon are a vital part of this.”

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart said: “I encourage men to take part. Generally, I have noted a changing attitude by some men and boys challenging the male culture that leads to harassment, abuse and violence but more needs to be done. It’s also good that betting shop staff are being involved in an awareness workshop and can then go on to explain to customers what White Ribbon is trying to achieve.”

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