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Sports unite to end violence against women

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Players representing Leicestershire's top sports clubs joined forces to mark International Women's Day to support efforts to tackle domestic and sexual violence in the county.Leicester Tigers, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Leicester City, Leicester Riders and University of Leicester Rugby Club teamed up at Grace Road to show their support for How Many Times, a campaign that aims to increase reporting of domestic and sexual violence in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.   Sir Clive Loader, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire and Rutland, has funded the campaign.   He said: “It is extremely important that awareness of these appalling crime types is raised so it encourages victims to come forward, report the abuse and seek the help and support that is out there. Having backing from Leicestershire’s top sports clubs is fantastic, as they have the opportunity to influence those that admire them.”   The athletes were united in their condemnation of violence against women and in their support of efforts to get victims reporting. Domestic and sexual violence affects thousands of women, girls and children in Leicestershire and Rutland every year.   Leicester Tigers backed the campaign and No8 Ed Milne was joined by representatives from football, cricket and basketball, as well as Martha Perkins and Sophie Alexander of 10-time varsity champions Leicester University Women’s Rugby squad.     A spokesperson for the Tigers said: “Rugby is an all-inclusive sport where respect is central to the enjoyment of the game. We feel it is very important to back campaigns that address issues affecting people from all walks of life.   “We are backing the campaign to tackle domestic and sexual violence, but everyone can do their part, whether that means sharing the helpline numbers or looking out for friends and family, and learning how to spot the signs. We all need to be more aware of the signs so people can get help earlier.”   Representatives included Andrej Kramaric (Leicester City) and cricketers Ollie Freckingham (Leicestershire), Emily Marriott, Una Paramjothy and cricket development officer Tom Leonard. Riders showed their support with players Rheanne Bailey and Georgia Jones, and managing director Russell Levenston.   Alex Bugg, captain of the University of Leicester Women's Rugby Club, said: “International Women’s Day is a time to recognise the contribution of women across the world and strive for equality. We were proud to stand alongside male and female role models from different sports and support this fantastic campaign. We can all play a role in tackling it – even just asking people if they are alright and passing on the helpline numbers helps.”   The ‘How Many Times’ campaign is raising awareness of the wide-ranging help and support available to victims and their families.   Helpline numbers Sexual violence 0300 333 6533 (Leicester City, Leicestershire and Rutland) Domestic violence 0300 123 0918 (Leicester City) Domestic violence 0300 303 1844 (Leicestershire) Domestic violence 0300 365 0112 (Rutland)   www.leicester.gov.uk/howmanytimes