REDDITCH firefighters have pledged support against domestic abuse and sexual violence as part of a series of local events organised by Redditch Council, working alongside Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse, to mark the 16 Days of Action campaign.

This is an international campaign to raise awareness of violence against women.

The campaign will be launched globally on White Ribbon Day on November 25, which is also known as the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It will run until December 10, which is International Human Rights Day.

In Redditch, the theme for this year’s 16 Days of Action campaign is “These hands are not for hurting”.

To reflect this, individuals from a number of organisations and groups, including Redditch Fire Station, have committed to placing their painted handprints onto a large community banner, which has been supplied by Inkberrow Design Centre and will be displayed in Kingfisher Shopping Centre at the conclusion of the campaign. Kim Thittichai, a textile artist and tutor living in Brighton, is helping to create the banner.

James Cooper, Redditch Council’s senior community safety project officer, said: “Each of the organisations taking part will produce one piece of the banner. These will be stitched together to create a large banner, to show our solidarity against domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“There are many forms of domestic abuse, not all of which are physical violence. It’s important to remember that anyone, male or female, young or old, can be a victim, and that support is available for victims and perpetrators.

“We’d like to thank Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) and Redditch firefighters, as well as other organisations, for placing their hands on our banner and signing up to the council’s pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

Station Commander Phil Berry from HWFRS added: “Domestic abuse of any kind can have far-reaching consequences and we are pleased to be helping to highlight this issue and support such a worthwhile campaign.”

The campaign in Redditch also includes a ‘These Heels Are Made For Walking’ event on the 30 November. The event will see men from across the county walk a mile around Redditch Town Centre in any type of women’s shoes as a public pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

Refreshments will be available on the day as well as a goody bag for each participant.

To take part, people should email with names, the number of men in the group and, and, if they can’t supply their own, what size shoes are needed.

Awareness will also be raised at a Christmas carol concert on Monday, December 10 at Church Green.

Free and confidential advice is available 24 hours a day from the Worcestershire domestic abuse helpline on freephone 0800 980 3331.