White Ribbon is a campaign led by men to end male violence against women and girls. The White Ribbon movement began in Canada in 1991 following a massacre of female students at a university in Montreal. A small group of men got together and looked for a way for men to oppose violence against women. They decided to encourage men to actively show their opposition by wearing a white ribbon.  Since then, the White Ribbon movement has developed internationally and is active in over 60 countries.

White Ribbon day is on 25 November each year, which is also the start of 16 Days of Action against domestic violence and sexual violence.  16 Days of Action ends on 10 December (Human Rights Day).

The White Ribbon Pledge

To never commit, excuse or stay silent about male violence against women

Police crime statistics between April 2021 and March 2022 identified 3494 domestic abuse incidents in Torbay. Between April 2021 and March 2022, there were 430 recorded sexual offences in Torbay. Where gender was recorded (414 cases) 89% were sexual offences against a female.

The White Ribbon campaign acknowledges and fully appreciates that whilst men are also subject to violence in many different forms, women are disproportionately and considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of domestic abuse and sexual violence.  

Torbay Council is leading the way in raising awareness of violence against women and girls by becoming the first organisation in the South West to receive White Ribbon accreditation in May 2018. The campaign recruits all year round and currently has 19 male ambassadors and 12 female champions from various local organisations. There is information on how to get involved in the How to Join section below. 

How to join

Should you want to be involved in the White Ribbon campaign or for further information about White Ribbon please go to www.whiteribbon.org.uk. Any organisation can get involved and apply for their own accreditation. 

For more details on how to apply to become a male ambassador or female champion please visit:

Should you have any questions about the White Ribbon campaign in Torbay please contact Jason Preece, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Coordinator at Torbay Council.


What are we doing in Torbay

Because of the Government restrictions in place due to the CoVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we haven't been able to arrange any events.  Nationally it has been reported that there has been an increase in calls to and contact with domestic abuse and sexual violence helplines.  To ensure that people are aware that local services remain open and accessible, our main activity is a series of radio interviews with services that has been set up. The interviews were pre-recorded by telephone to comply with restrictions around social distancing. 

  • Radio interviews with local services via Riviera FM. The full schedule is in the articles section
  • Webinar to support schools and early years settings who will provide a safe place for a parent or carer to contact services 
  • Graphics linking to the Are You OK website in GP surgery waiting rooms
  • Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust displaying screen savers across their IT equipment highlighting coercive control and the Are You OK website 
  • Content in Torbay Council all staff emails highlighting the issue of DASV as part of the day job and in a personal context; what training is available and where to find it; and keeping safe while working 

White Ribbon aims to raise awareness of the issue of violence against women and girls through active community engagement. In the first year of accreditation in 2018 the Torbay White Ribbon campaign arranged local events to encourage men and boys from all walks of life and ages to make a stand. Below are some of the events that took place.

  • Dedicated match held by Torquay United Football Club
  • Local Boxing event at Acorn Community Centre
  • Local press promotion/social media
  • Council Staff engagement
  • Torquay United Community Sports Trust attending local schools
  • Promotion of campaign through White Ribbon ‘On Tour’ banner photo opportunity
  • White Ribbon logo painted onto the grass at Princess Gardens for the duration of 16 Days of Action 2018

Activities in support of White Ribbon during the 16 Days of Action 2019 campaign included: 

  • Engaging with students at South Devon College to talk about coercive control, gaslighting and healthy relationships, using a huge deckchair as a prop
  • Supporting St Cuthbert Mayne School to include work with their sixth form particularly around healthy relationships, and facilitating the production of a drama piece in conjunction with South Devon Players
  • Torquay United Community Development Trust, who supported us last year, providing penalty shoot outs and other interactive sessions
  • Developing screen savers for use by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust 
  • A schedule of radio interviews on Riviera FM where local services and voluntary groups talk about the service they provide and the impact that domestic abuse and sexual violence has on people 
  • Reclaim the Night - organised for the first time in Torbay by Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Support Services - a march through the town centre to raise awareness of sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in public spaces 
  • Raise our Voices - a choral and floral memorial event arranged by "What's your problem?" to raise awareness of the 173 recorded domestic homicides which took place in the UK during 2018 (BBC data) 
  • Local Jet Ski company JetSetGo supported us by making a video which included a white ribbon created in the waters off Torbay