The Hertfordshire Conference on Eliminating Gender-Based Violence has been held in Stevenage.

Chris Green OBE, the founder and president of the national White Ribbon Campaign UK, used his keynote speech to call for an increase in collective action in ending violence against women and girls.

Mr Green, who is also a UN Leader of Men, said: “14,000 incidents of male violence against women and girls occurred in Hertfordshire in the last 12 months - while government leadership is important, the change we need is delivered by the local community, from schools to households to football clubs, from the age of seven and to the age of 70. 

“Fundamentally, men need to listen to women's voices because while not all men are violent, all men are part of the solution. 

“We need to move on from talking to taking action, to challenge men's violence against women and girls, and conferences like this are immensely important for coordinating and inspiring that change.” 

The conference featured a range of national and local speakers, testimony from a survivor of abuse, and stalls from different support services in Hertfordshire. It was attended by over 40 different local organisations committed to tackling domestic abuse and violence against women and girls. 

The Comet: Chris Green OBE gave the keynote speech at the conference.Chris Green OBE gave the keynote speech at the conference. (Image: White Ribbon UK)

Talking points at the conference included the engagement of men and boys in the goal of eliminating violence against women and girls, understanding the diverse needs of victims and survivors, Hertfordshire-specific support initiatives, and the importance of community-led partnerships.

The conference was held on December 13 at Stevenage FC, and organised by Hertfordshire County Council and Safer Places on behalf of the wider Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership. It also marked the end of a global campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Jo Fisher, executive director of children's services at Hertfordshire County Council & chair of Hertfordshire DA & VAWG Partnership Executive Board, welcomed attendees at the start of the conference.

Afterwards, she reflected: “The importance of today’s conference cannot be overstated. 

“It recognises the value of partnership working, bringing together public and statutory agencies, specialists, commissioners and other key partners from across the DA & VAWG sector to share their experience and examples of best practice, with a focus on meaningful and sustainable culture change. We must all work together to eradicate violence against women and girls.” 

You can learn more about the support available for people in Hertfordshire who are suffering from domestic abuse or gender-based violence by visiting or by contacting the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088 or at