17 November
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West Lothian Gender Based Violence Partnership is leading on the campaign at a local level which runs from Thursday 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to International Human Rights Day on 10 December and includes World Aids Day on 1 December.

A minute's silence will take place on 25 November at 11am to honour the women who have lost their lives as well as those who have survived domestic abuse.

The local theme for the campaign for this year is 'light up' and people are being encouraged to light a candle or set a light on during the minute silence as an additional show of support.

A series of multi-agency events have also been arranged during the 16 days, including training sessions, school activities and awareness-raising events with the local campaign asking members of the public, 'What will you do?' to help eradicate violence against women and children.

The start of the campaign also coincides with White Ribbon Day. West Lothian Council recently joined the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in signing the White Ribbon pledge. The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort to end men's violence against women and encourages men and boys to wear a white ribbon to show their support.

You can sign up to the pledge and find out more about the campaign on White Ribbon Scotland website (opens new window)

Chair of the West Lothian Community Planning Partnership and Depute Council Leader Kirsteen Sullivan said: "West Lothian is proud to participate in the 16 Days of Action campaign against violence towards women and children.

"The need for action has arguably never been greater with far too many horrific instances of gender-based violence receiving national coverage in the past twelve months. It is important that those who have been sadly lost are remembered and important conversations are held about what can be done to ensure that no one else should suffer as they did. 

"This can also be applied when thinking of those who are suffering in silence behind closed doors. These 16 days are all about making sure that no one has to live in fear and I would encourage everyone to engage in the campaign. If we can all take a moment to ask those around us 'what will you do?' and shine a light on this topic then hopefully it is something in which society will continue to engage actively beyond this 16-day period."

Help is available for anyone experiencing gender-based violence or domestic abuse through the specialists in the council's Domestic and Sexual Assault Team (DASAT) and West Lothian Women's Aid (WLWA).

Contact DASAT on 01506 281055 or dasat@westlothian.gov.uk or WLWA on 01506 473721 or info@wlwa.org.uk for confidential and friendly support.

In an emergency, always call the police on 999.