WHITE ribbons will be appearing on trees around Malham from tomorrow, November 25, as part of Malham WI’s support against domestic violence.

The WI group, now in its 90th year, has been meeting through Zoom during the pandemic and has planned to tie ribbons around some of its trees to support the No More Violence Against Women campaign.

The WI is also supporting a refuge in Harrogate and is collecting toiletries and other items.

Malham WI president Hazel Allen said: “Malham WI may be small and located in a small village in rural North Yorkshire but many of its members’ lives have been deeply affected by domestic abuse – through personal experience, our children, siblings or friends.

“So we decided we should try and make a difference and support the No More Violence Against Women campaign and not just for 16 days of action but throughout the coming year.”

Despite only being able to meet online the group decided it would show its commitment to the cause visually by tying ribbons around trees from Wednesday to highlight the need to speak out against these forms of abuse against women.

The white ribbons will have a label on to say this is the work of Malham WI and also if anyone reading the label is experiencing domestic abuse themselves, then they will be able to access the helpline number they can ring for support.

Many of the women and children just turn up at refuges with just the clothes they are standing in so as not to arouse suspicion from the perpetrator on the day they leave the family home.

Women are encouraged to keep a bag of essentials at say a trusted friend’s house but for many that’s simply not possible if they are being controlled by their abuser.

Hazel added: “Contact has been made with our nearest women’s refuge in Harrogate where Malham WI has offered ongoing practical support and in discussion with the refuge manager we identified that the important items were toiletry packs for adults and children, underwear, sleeping clothes, support for pets who had to be rehomed, money for basics, new bedding and towels.

“Some of us have also started to undergo training so we can become volunteers, maybe IDAS champions or provide other more practical help. Members who don’t send Christmas Cards this year will be encouraged to donate the money they would have spent to the refuge.”

In 1975, the national WI campaigned on ‘Supporting Survivors of Domestic Abuse’.

Anyone needing support can contact the helpline on 03000 110 110.