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Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG)

Violence against women and girls is both a form of discrimination and a violation of human rights. The United Nations Declaration on Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as:

‘Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women [or girls], including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.’ (1993, Article 1)

This includes a wide range of abusive behaviours including physical, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological abuse.

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is abuse that is targeted at women or girls because of their gender and it affects women and girls disproportionately but men can be abused too. It is important that VAWG is not seen as a series of incidents or assaults which a woman or girl experiences, but as a pattern of violent or controlling behaviour that seeks to achieve power and control over them. VAWG has a very big impact on the physical safety, health and emotional well-being of individuals, and impacts on families, children and the community as a whole.

Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their economic status, gender, religion, ethnicity, age.

VAWG includes the following strands:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual violence
  • Harmful Practice
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Forced marriage 
  • So-called 'Honour' Based Violence
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Stalking and harassment
  • Prostitution
  • Trafficking

Contact information

For further information on all of our VAWG work and to join our mailing list,

VAWG - initiatives and events

White Ribbon Campaign and 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Waltham Forest Community Safety Partnership facilitates an annual ’16 days of Action Against Gender Violence' and ‘White Ribbon’ campaign which will run from the 25 November – 10 December. The timetable also highlights whether the events are open to the public or targeted for practitioners.

The ‘16 Days’ Campaign is an international campaign that started in 1991. Since then, over 5,167 groups in 187 countries have taken part. The ‘16 Days of Action’ run from 25 November, UN International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, Human Rights Day. The campaign spans these 16 Days in order to highlight the link between violence against women and human rights. Today, women and girls are subjected to many forms of human rights violations solely on the basis of their gender.

Linked to the 16 days of action is the White Ribbon Campaign. The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women. WRC got started in 1991 when a group of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

In Waltham Forest we run both campaigns together during the ’16 Days of Action’ marking the fact that no one should condone or commit violence. Show your support by signing the Waltham Forest Domestic Abuse Pledge.

If you or your organisation would like to get involved with the campaign, please contact the Waltham Forest VAWG Team as we want this to be a ‘whole Waltham Forest’ campaign with as much multi-agency involvement as possible!

For more information about the campaign or to support any of the events, please contact the VAWG team at  

White Ribbon Campaign - Domestic Abuse Pledge

Waltham Forest council is committed to working in partnership with statutory, voluntary and community organisations to prevent domestic violence and reduce the harm it causes to individuals, families and the community as a whole.

In 2014, Waltham Forest Community Safety Partnership received ‘The White Ribbon Campaign Accreditation Award’ for our partnership working to tackle domestic abuse. We cannot do this alone and we encourage our partners and local residents to support our aims and sign our Domestic Abuse Pledge.

Waltham Forest’s ‘White Ribbon Campaign Domestic Abuse Pledge’ was launched on November 25, 2014 to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and our Accreditation Award.

The launching of the pledge also coincides with the White Ribbon Campaign, a national campaign to encourage people to wear a white ribbon. It also coincides with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.

By signing our pledge you are showing your support for this important campaign.

White Ribbon Campaign – Leyton Orient Pledge

Leyton Orient FC have partnered with the White Ribbon Campaign and Waltham Forest Community Safety Partnership to tackle domestic violence on match days. Nationally, it is shown that after sporting events, domestic violence incidents increase, so Leyton Orient have for the past 4 years dedicated a home game in November a ‘White Ribbon Campaign Game.

Waltham Forest Community Safety Party and the club have produced a special video featuring the Leyton Orient players, Lead Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Borough Commander all showing their support for the worthwhile campaign. This video was shown on the big screen ahead of the game and can be viewed at the club’s official site.

White Ribbon Campaign is the UK branch of the global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

The White Ribbon Campaign started in Canada in 1991, when a group of men decided that they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women and girls.

Help and Support

This section provides links to useful information about support agencies and our referral pathway. It includes VAWG work in relation to:

If you are a professional working in Waltham Forest and would like to contribute to the VAWG agenda and strategy, please consider joining the VAWG Community Forum for further information please contact Waltham Forest Council’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Team: 

Telephone: 020 8496 3000


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