A 16-day long campaign against domestic violence begins today (Wednesday 25 November) widely supported by the major agencies for public well-being in the islands.

The Outer Hebrides Violence against Women Partnership, Police Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and NHS Western Isles are supporting 16 days of action from today to Thursday 10 December, in a bid to raise awareness and call for changes that will make women and children safe from domestic violence.

Inspector Jane Nicolson, who chairs the local group said: “Everyone has the right to live free from fear, intimidation and abuse, especially within their own home.

“I am proud to be leading the 16 days of action for the group. The global campaign calls for men to come together and pledge their support to end violence against women.

“Within the Western Isles, we are using the 16 days of action as an opportunity to raise awareness of the support available for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.”

Today is also White Ribbon Day, an international campaign encouraging people to wear a white ribbon and undertake never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.

The Western’s Isles quest is to gain White Ribbon status for the islands, ensuring that those goals are embedded in every part of community life.

In Scotland, the campaign includes inviting people to sign a pledge never to condone, commit or ignore evidence of violence against women. More information is at https://www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk

Inspector Nicolson said: “Achieving White Ribbon status in the Western Isles will unite the activity of existing supporters and bring more people on board.

“White Ribbon Scotland involves men taking steps to eliminate violence against women and educates about what (people) can do to play their part during the course of their everyday lives. 

“From the top down and the bottom up, engagement with White Ribbon Scotland’s grassroots campaign will reinforce the feeling of living, working and leading in an area which will not ignore violence against women or its causes.”

White Ribbon status has already been granted to Angus, Glasgow and Dumfries and Galloway following similar campaigns in previous years.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of violence against women in all its forms and challenge male attitudes which condone violence against women.

It is also aimed at educating men so that they feel better able to speak up against violence against women and to encourage them to talk about the issues, ending the climate of male silence on the subject of violence against women

Inspector Nicolson said: “I would like to thank the partner agencies and other groups involved for their help to get the campaign up and running, especially Davy Thompson, campaign director of White Ribbon Scotland, who were so helpful and for the first time have produced the banners in Gaelic for use in the Western Isles.    

“Domestic abuse is such an important subject and I urge anyone concerned that someone may be at risk or suffering domestic abuse – whether a family member, friend or neighbour – to please contact Police Scotland or our partner agencies for help. Help us to keep people safe and reduce domestic violence.” 

To report abuse, contact 101, or 999 in an emergency, to report it to police. If you have concerns about a victim of domestic abuse you can also help protect them by speaking to police in person or using the online reporting form on the Police Scotland website (https://www.scotland.police.uk/secureforms/c3/)

Other important contacts:

The picture shows Sergeant Ross Masson and Inspector Jane Nicolson of Western Isles police with the campaign launch banners in Stornoway (Police Scotland).