Welsh Rugby Union condemns violence against women

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), has thrown its weight behind a campaign to stop violence against women. The guardian of the sport in Wales has joined a UNISON initiative to publicise White Ribbon, a charity which addresses men directly so they understand the scale of the problem, and become part of the solution, alongside women.

UNISON is playing a key role in White Ribbon’s sixteen-day drive to raise awareness amongst the public. As well as securing the support from the WRU, the trade union won similar endorsements from Cardiff Blues and Ospreys and players from those clubs posed for photographs with white ribbon placards. In the Wales autumn internationals training camp, captain Alun Wyn Jones, Rhys Webb, Leigh Halfpenny and Scott Williams, joined a UNISON-sponsored event to highlight there is a spike in violence towards women in the aftermath of sporting events.

Photos: Marc Saunders

The trade union hopes the clear message for an end to violence against women from the rugby governing body, as well as from the sport’s role-models, will make an impact as the national team limbers up to face South Africa this Saturday.

A Welsh Rugby Union spokesperson said,

“We’re proud supporters of the White Ribbon campaign. Violence against women and girls is wrong in any circumstance and sports fans everywhere can play their part in speaking out and challenging all unacceptable behaviour.”

Julian McDonald of UNISON’s South Wales Police and Justice branch said,

“As emergency service workers, UNISON members working for South Wales police will often be the first point of contact when a woman is attacked. We need to take the strongest possible stand and force a cultural change. Recruiting the help of Welsh rugby’s household names sends a powerful message throughout the fan base.”

White Ribbon asks men to pledge never to commit, condone or stay silent about violence against women. UNISON Police and Justice members organised for white flags to fly at police headquarters in Bridgend and Cardiff Bay. Other UNISON branches have run stalls in their workplaces, selling white ribbons and handing out informative postcards.

Link to UNISON short film about the endorsement of Wales players and interviews

Notes for editors

  • White Ribbon UK is part of a global movement to put a stop to male violence against women and girls. It addresses men directly so they understand the scale of the problem, and become part of the solution, alongside women. www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk
  • UNISON South Wales Police and Justice branch organised a UNISON stall at the Principality stadium for Wales/New Zealand match last Saturday. They had the opportunity to publicise the White Ribbon campaign to fans.
  • Other UNISON Cymru Wales events publicising White Ribbon during the 16-day drive to raise awareness include:
    • Cardiff Met Branch stalls at Llandaff Campus on 27November and Cyncoed Campus on 29 November, getting people to sign the pledge and giving out postcards.
    • Denbighshire branch met staff as they attended work last Friday morning and lunchtime, handing out white ribbons and literature.
    • UNISON Cymru Wales Regional Council has endorsed the White Ribbon Campaign, as has the trade union’s general secretary, Dave Prentis.


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397