OUTSTANDING work to help cut levels of domestic violence towards women and girls has secured Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council a coveted accolade.

The Council was presented with the White Ribbon Authorities Award at a major conference aimed at raising awareness of the issues facing children and young people affected by domestic or sexual violence.

The White Ribbon Campaign is the UK branch of a worldwide initiative to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

The award was presented to Councillor Sheelagh Clarke, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Wellbeing, and Chief Executive Amanda Skelton at the 'Don't Stand Back' conference at the City Learning Centre, Eston.

It came after Redcar & Cleveland Domestic and Sexual Violence Reduction Partnership devised a three-year action plan to address the subject locally.

The plan involves developing a policy for staff affected by domestic violence; rolling out the 'Expect Respect' programme in schools to increase young people's awareness of the issue and the support available to them; and forging links with pub landlords to raise staff and customer awareness of how alcohol can lead to domestic violence incidents.

The work has won acclaim from throughout the region - including praise from Middlesbrough FC boss Tony Mowbray.

He said: "I would like to congratulate Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council on its achievement of the White Ribbon Authorities Award. Domestic violence in any form is not acceptable.

"I support the work of Redcar & Cleveland and its partners to reduce the number of incidents of domestic violence and their continued work to support the victims.

Councillor Clarke said: "The impact of domestic and sexual violence can be extremely damaging, but we are committed to tackling these issues wherever they may arise in our borough and ensuring victims get the support they need.

"The partnership's work is first-class and I am delighted that its efforts have been recognised with this award.

Anyone affected by domestic or sexual violence can find information about support services online at www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/reducingdomesticviolence