CHURCH leaders of all the main denominations in Cumbria are supporting a campaign to end violence against women.

Sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence started on Monday, which was designated White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

At a recent joint meeting, all the leaders signed up to the White Ribbon Pledge, which reads: “I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about men’s violence against women in all its forms.”

The Rt Rev Robert Freeman, Bishop of Penrith, said: "I am pleased to support the activism against violence – and 58 bishops across the Church of England will be wearing a white ribbon to show their concern for what is a disturbing issue in society.

“All domestic violence is wrong. However, statistics show that the overwhelming majority of domestic violence is by men against women, and is often behind closed doors.

“Men need to increasingly be clear that they stand against all gender-based violence, and we need to empower and support women by becoming visible in standing against violence.”

The White Ribbon Pledge has been signed by the following Cumbria church leaders – Bill Bewley, of the Society of Friends (Quakers); the Rev Andrew Dodd, North West Baptist Association; the Rt Rev Michael Campbell, Bishop of Lancaster, Roman Catholic Church; the Rev Richard Church, NW Synod Moderator, United Reformed Church; the Rt Rev Robert Freeman, Bishop of Penrith, Church of England; Major Drew McCombe, Divisional Leader, Salvation Army NW Division; the Rev Sarah Moore, Cumbria Area President, United Reformed Church; the Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, Church of England; the Rev Richard Teal, Chair, Cumbria Methodist District.