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Groups from across the West Midlands have come together to collectively vow to tackle male violence against women and girls.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster was joined by the region’s Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan at a landmark conference to encourage all men and boys to have a conversation about making community wide change.

The event was held today at Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens and saw the PCC and Victims’ Commissioner joined by partner organisations from across the region including the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit, the West Midlands Combined Authority, Turnaround West Midlands and the Urban Transport Group amongst others.

Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan speaks at the event

It was a chance to reflect on the campaign so far and set important targets for future, as well as hear experiences from those affected.

Nicky Brennan, Victims’ Commissioner, said: “There really is no excuse for abuse and this conference was a landmark opportunity for organisations from across the West Midlands to take a united stand against male violence against women and girls.

“For too long this behaviour has been normalised and accepted as a part of everyday life – but it is wrong and unacceptable on all levels.

“We are asking for community-wide change and having more open conversations about the part that men need to play in challenging one another and talking with their peers about this behaviour.

“I was pleased to see so many groups come together and vow to take this stand today and this can build on all the positive steps we have been taking.”

Earlier this year the Police and Crime Commissioner launched a campaign called Here and Now, encouraging all men and boys in the West Midlands to have important conversations with their peers about male violence against women and girls.

The campaign is asking men to step up and prioritise conversations about playing their part in putting a stop to unacceptable male behaviours and deep-rooted misogyny.

A survey carried out this month by YouGov found that 26% of survey respondents said that they had called out a male friend or colleague about their behaviour towards a female, whereas 63% said that they had not. Of each of the age demographics sampled, the over-55 respondents were least likely (23%) to have intervened at any point.

However, when specifically asked about particular behaviours (e.g. verbal harassment, physical harassment, stalking), the majority felt that they would be confident in talking to a male friend or colleague – with over half of respondents saying that they would do so. Only 7% believed that they would not feel comfortable intervening in any situation.

Simon Foster, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “We are asking men to be upstanders for women’s safety and not a bystander to intimidation and violence.

“We want more open conversations about the role that men need to play in challenging one another, and in talking with their peers about behaviours and actions.”

Alongside the work on changing behaviours and having a proactive policing response to violence against women and girls, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner offers a wide range of support services to victims.

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