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Published 14 November 2019

Communities in West Dunbartonshire came together today at a groundbreaking conference designed to raise awareness of and prevent domestic abuse.

More than 200 people attended at Clydebank Town Hall for the Breaking the Cycle conference to join the conversation about what role the community can play in helping reducing domestic crime.

The event is the first of its kind in Scotland as the Council, with partners at West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, West Dunbartonshire CVS, and Police Scotland all joining forces to ensure residents are clear of how they can help tackle the problem.

The guests heard from officers behind the Council's innovative No Home for Domestic Abuse policy, which introduced a zero tolerance approach to domestic abuse in Council homes.

Officers from Police Scotland also spoke about the ways in which a perpetrator can hide their behaviour, as well as detailing of some of the worst cases of domestic violence and coercive control that have occurred in recent years.

Most importantly, the attendees had the opportunity to participate in a round-table discussion considering what barriers exist to ridding society of domestic abuse and what steps the community can take.

A range of stalls were also available at the event, including Working4U and Women's Aid, to give specific information on how to access support to help friends or neighbours experiencing domestic abuse.

Councillor Diane Docherty, Convener of Housing and Communities, said: "I am delighted with the turnout we had here today from residents who are, like us, determined to bring information about domestic abuse to the forefront of their community and help rid our area of this pandemic crime.

"The discussions today were extremely valuable and a great starting point for our next moves as we continue to work to tackle domestic abuse."

Councillor Caroline McAllister, Vice Convener of Housing and Communities and Violence Against Women Champion, added:  "As a Council we are working with our partners to reduce the instances of domestic violence in our area.

"But our communities have to play a part in this, and their role is vital because it is about prevention, which is why it was so encouraging to see so many people attend today.

"There was a lot of good contributions made in our discussion groups and I’m excited to see the follow up report of the day highlighting actions we can take forward.

"Today’s conference is just the beginning of all of us working together to send a loud and clear message that domestic abuse can no longer be allowed to blight our communities."

Input from the event will now be considered before being fed back into the wider community.