Representatives from organisations across the West Lothian Community Planning Partnership joined local school pupils and members of the community to take part in a march from Howden Park Centre to West Lothian Civic Centre in order to highlight the plight of women and girls who face violence and harassment.
Following the march, a rally took place at West Lothian Civic Centre to mark the campaign, with those in attendance getting to hear a series of empowering speeches from representatives from local community planning partners, charities and pupils from West Calder High School.
Both events mark the first in a series of local, multi-agency activities for the 16 Days campaign which runs from International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Friday, November 25, to International Human Rights Day on Saturday, December 10.
As part of the campaign, survivors of domestic abuse have created a special video to share their experiences and encourage others to reach out for help. The video can be viewed online.
Other activities include training sessions and an art exhibition at Howden Park Centre featuring the incredible artwork from survivors of domestic abuse and High School Pupils from across West Lothian.
The local campaign will culminate in a survivor's vigil. Members of the public are invited to join in at West Lothian Civic Centre on Friday 9 December from 4pm.
Keep up to date with what is taking place by visiting the West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership website
Depute Council Leader, Kirsteen Sullivan said: "I'd like to thank everyone who attended the march and rally.
"The 16 Days campaign provokes questions around what we can all do as individuals to ensure violence against women and girls is eliminated from our society. In West Lothian we remain committed to shining a light on the topic and working together to try and find solutions to eradicate domestic violence.
"There's a lot happening locally over the next 16 days and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved."
Chief Executive of West Lothian Women's Aid, Ilena Brown said: "It is heart-warming to see the support from the community and unite with partner agencies to continue to take a stand against domestic abuse. West Lothian Women's Aid plays a key role in providing support to women and children experiencing domestic abuse whilst working collaboratively with others in holding perpetrators of that abuse accountable for their behaviour.
Anyone in need of help and support should not hesitate to contact us."
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).
In an emergency, always call the police on 999.
Other useful telephone numbers
- Victim Support - 01506 635050
- Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0800 027 1234
- Childline - 8088 1111
- Shakti Women's Aid - 0131 475 2399
- Family Mediation Lothian - 0131 226 4507
- Edinburgh Women's Rape & Sexual Assault Centre - 0131 556 9437
- SCET (Social Work Emergency Team - Out of Hours Service) - 01506 281028 or 281029
- West Lothian Council Housing - 01506 280000
- Domestic Abuse Liaison Officer - 01506 833834
- Breathing Space - 0800 838587 (Lines open Monday-Thursday, 6pm to 2am and Friday 6pm to Monday 6am)
- Rape Crisis Helpline - 08088 01 03 02 (Lines open 7 days from 6pm to midnight)
- Police Scotland can be contacted on 999 in an emergency, or 101