9 www.lennoxherald.co.uk 19.05.2020 Don’t suffer in silence if you are domestic abuse victim JENNY FOULDS Domestic abuse victims are being urged to seek help — with 34 people receiving council support since lockdown began, The figure includes 15 new direct referrals to West Dunbartonshire 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. It comes seven weeks after the Lennox Herald reported on Dumbarton District Women’s Aid fearing that the coronavirus lockdown would lead to a rise in abuse. The charity’s operations manager, Janine Jardine, said the strict measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 offers abusers more opportunity for control and may even be used as an excuse for torment. Councillor Caroline McAllister (right), the local authority’s Violence Against Women champion, said: “Domestic abuse leaves victims with both physical and emotional scars — and The CARA Project is another local service which can be phoned on 01389 738595 or 01389 738278 Support remains available in lockdown, says councillor, as 34 come forward to ask for help 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.” 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 team, call 01389 738510. Dumbarton Women’s Aid offers refuge, support, advocacy and counselling for women, children and young people . Anyone can contact them on 01389 751036. 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 local support services to ask for help. “I would urge 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.” Councillor Diane Docherty, For information on the latest guidance visit If you have a health concern, visit www.gov.scot/coronavirus. www.nhsinform.scot
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