Published 14 May 2020

An additional 34 domestic abuse victims have sought support from West Dunbartonshire Council since lockdown measures were introduced in March.

The figure includes 15 new direct referrals to the Council’s dedicated tenant support service No Home For Domestic Abuse, including a victim who has been re-homed and others who received help with changed locks, financial advice and other support.

Another 19 cases have come to light through referrals to the homelessness team, who have provided temporary accommodation for victims using existing stock or with support from local housing partners.

Councillor Caroline McAllister, the Council’s Violence Against Women Champion, said: “Domestic abuse leave victims with both physical and emotional scars and it can often mean they are too afraid to ask for help. I’m pleased that these 34 victims have been able to find the courage to come forward to get support during this crisis, and that our services have leapt to action to ensure they are properly protected.

“During the current pandemic distancing measures, victims are likely to feel more isolated and vulnerable  than ever, however, the advice to stay at home does not mean that you cannot seek support.

“I know there will be many more women and men who are living in fear in their own homes during this, and I would encourage them to use the numbers below to ask for help.

“I would encourage all residents who have concerns about friends, family or neighbours to contact the police should they hear or see anything suggesting someone is at risk. For non emergency concerns please use the contact numbers below.”

Councillor Diane Docherty, Convener of Housing and Communities, added: “These additional cases highlight the very dangerous situation that some people are finding themselves in when they are following government guidance. Sadly, for a great many, staying at home is simply not safe.

“I want to remind anyone who is suffering at the hands of a domestic abuser – you are not alone and there is help out there, so please get in touch.

“If you are a Council tenant, our No Home for Domestic Abuse initiative can help with practical actions like lock changes, or changing tenancy names, and if you are not a Council tenant we can also offer a range of support and advice. Please do not suffer in silence.”

No Home for Domestic Abuse is a zero tolerance policy introduced by West Dunbartonshire Council in June 2018.

The policy introduced a range of support for victims including immediate access to practical help and legal assistance following any instance of violence in a Council home.

Using Anti-Social Behaviour powers and housing legislation, the Council initiative also supports victims to remain in their home, while the perpetrator is removed and stopped from returning.

Since its launch, the service has helped 225 victims.

To contact the No Home for Domestic Abuse team please call 01389 738510, or to contact the Council’s homelessness teams, please call  01389738282, or out of hours please use the emergency Freephone number 0800 197 1004.

Local Support Groups for women, children and young people experiencing violence within the home or an intimate relationship can be contacted as follows:

Dumbarton Women's Aid offers Refuge, support, advocacy and counselling for women, children and young people.

Tel: 01389 751036

Clydebank Women's Aid offers support, advocacy and refuge for women, children and young people.

Tel: 0141 952 8118

CEDAR Domestic Abuse Recovery 4-16

A Group work programme for mothers, children and young people.

Tel: 0141 562 8870.

CARA Project - support to information advocacy for women

Women's Survivors Group -SILK Group - for more information contact Tel: 01389 738595 or Tel: 01389 738278

Women's Safety Support Service  offers support to women who are experiencing or have survived domestic abuse and if the offence has been referred to court or if you or a partner are receiving criminal justice social work services.

Contact:  01389 738484 and ask to speak to the Women's Safety Support Officer.

If it is an emergency call Police Scotland on 999 immediately. To report non emergency incidents call Police Scotland on 101.