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Arlecdon Rams win competition raising awareness around VAWG

Local Women’s Rugby Team, Arlecdon Rams, have won the county-wide competition encouraging Rugby League teams to snap a picture standing side-by-side to call out violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The Competition was launched by local charity Cumbria Family Support, who support families with children through difficult times, and funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) through the Property Fund.  The competition is being supported by Cumbria Police. The aim of the competition was to spread awareness of violence against women and girls and the work that is being done to combat this across various social media channels.

The team posted a picture to their Facebook to enter the competition and to raise awareness and call out VAWG using the hashtag #CallitOutCumbria. Their picture was picked by Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (DPFCC) Mike Johnson, Deb Royston, Chief Officer of Cumbria Family Support and Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw from Cumbria Constabulary as the winning team.

As a result of their win, the team will receive a new kit, funded by the OPFCC’s Property Fund, for the following season with the ‘Call it Out Cumbria’ slogan branded it on it. The aim is that the team will carry the message to the wider sporting world and public as they play.

DPFCC Mike Johnson said: “Congratulations to the Arlecdon Rams for winning the Call it Out competition.

“There picture showed unity and that really is what being a team is all about.

“Competitions and initiatives such as this are incredibly important as we all need to call out inappropriate and abusive behaviours and attitudes towards women and girls.

“Violence against anyone is unacceptable but women and girls are overwhelmingly more likely to have to deal with some form of abuse at the hands of men – whether it is physical or not.

“We can all have a lot of influence over our peers, especially men, and highlighting when a friend, family member or even a stranger is acting inappropriately or in an intimidating manner towards women may have more impact that we think.

“I want to thank all the teams that took part in the competition, you have helped spread the message about calling out violence against women and girls.

“Together we are making Cumbria an even safer place to live, work and visit.”

Paul Willis, Social Media Manager for the Arlecdon Rams, said: “The club is delighted to have won this competition, but more importantly it helps further the message that #Callitoutcumbria stands for.

“It’s imperative in any walk of life that women and girls feel safe, and others feel comfortable to call out or report any unwanted behaviour they see. Our ladies will be proud to display that message alongside our team badge when playing Rugby League. Seeing these logos on our new strip will no doubt spark conversation amongst others ensuring the #Callitout campaign spans not only Cumbria but wherever we play across the country.

“Arlecdon Rugby League club are an all-inclusive club and want everyone to feel safe and protected whether that be attending training, playing or in the club house. We have recently had four of the ladies’ team join our club committee to ensure an equal voice when it comes to the running of our club and are always welcoming of anyone looking to join the Arlecdon Ewes or Rams Masters.”

“Thank you, Cumbria Family Support, and the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for awarding us this prize.”

Deb Royston, Chief Officer of Cumbria Family Support, said: “It has been a privilege to deliver this project. The wining photo showed unity, shoulder-to-shoulder support and the importance of support for one another. The CallitOut campaign is all of these things- Calling Out anyone who does not treat women and girls with the respect they deserve and who commits or turns a blind eye to violence, aggression, or derogatory language to women and girls. Well done to the winning team- fantastic work!”

Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw holds a specialist operational post in the force covering the subject of violence against women and girls.

He has played a central role in organising and running the competition and took part in the judging process.

DI Belshaw said: “This competition and its presence on social media has played a key part in further pushing out the message that violence against women and girls is unacceptable.

“It’s been great to see the rugby league community across Cumbria get behind this competition and encouraging to see people sharing the posts and encouraging the teams.

“We’d like to thank all the teams that took part, all the clubs that backed this competition and everyone who shared or liked a post.”

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