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Peterborough United and Cambridge United have put footballing rivalry aside to join forces for a new campaign against domestic abuse.
United Against Domestic Abuse will see the clubs join the force to tackle male violence against women and girls.
The local campaign will kick off on White Ribbon Day (November 25) and focus on the role football can play in creating a safer world for women and girls.
Domestic abuse charityWhite Ribbon worked with a group of men to identify 11 traits men can nurture, each representing a player in a squad, with the goal of ending violence against women and girls.
Over the next 16 days, the players will be putting their best foot forward to help the force spread the message that men and boys can all play their part in helping to achieve equality and safety for women and girls.
And with it coinciding with the World Cup, what better time to show domestic abuse the red card.
Cambridge United player Harrison Dunk said: “The World Cup is a time for us, as players, and a club, to make a genuine difference to the safety of women and girls.
“We take our responsibilities as role models very seriously and to be part of work to tackle such a serious issue is very important to us.
“It’s essential that we have these conversations and work together to show the red card to domestic abuse.”
As part of the campaign, the force and both clubs will sign a “White Ribbon Pledge”, promising “never to use, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women”.
The teams, alongside Chief Constable Nick Dean, have also made a short film encouraging other men and boys to change their behaviours and support the goal to end abuse.
Peterborough United player Nathan Thompson said: “We have committed to, and signed, the White Ribbon Pledge and would call upon fans to join us and play their part in tackling violence against women and girls.
“Men’s football has traditionally been seen as a masculine environment and we need to dispel that myth and address those informal rules that can restrict the way men and women are expected to live. We need to take the brave step of calling out inappropriate behaviour that can lead to domestic abuse.
“By having these conversations and looking at the way we all behave and respect each other, we can prevent violence against women and girls.”
In the past ten months the force has recorded almost 10,000 domestic abuse incidents, 72% of which had female victims, with most being committed by ex-partners.
Det Insp David Savill said: “Sadly, cases of domestic abuse continue to rise, which is absolutely unacceptable, and it is critical we all look at what we can do to prevent abuse happening.
“The majority of domestic violence is committed on women by men and the aim of our campaign is to support the White Ribbon campaign in identifying the root causes of violence and looking at what preventative measures we can all take.
“With football currently on the global stage, it is a real opportunity for us to reach large groups of men and boys and have those discussions.
“We are really grateful that both clubs have come together to support us with this campaign and help to prevent domestic abuse.”
White Ribbon Day and the 16 days of action against domestic abuse are held annually to identify ways to prevent violence against women and girls.
Anthea Sully, chief executive at White Ribbon UK, said: "It is so important that Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Peterborough United FC and Cambridge United are coming together to support #TheGoal for White Ribbon Day. This partnership highlights that ending violence against women and girls is everyone’s responsibility.
“Men and boys are now expecting better from their colleagues, friends, and family to ensure women and girls are safe. #TheGoal does just that, it brings men and boys together to think about how they can make a positive difference to achieve equality and safety for women and girls. We are inviting you to wear a White Ribbon and make the White Ribbon Promise, never to use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women."
Learn more about domestic abuse and the signs to look out for.