VICTIMS of domestic abuse in Dumbarton and the Vale are being offered a message of hope for the new year.

Dumbarton District Women’s Aid composed an open letter to those affected by abuse in the home in a bid to offer support and highlight the terrifying challenges men, women and children face each day.

The letter explains the group does not “underestimate how much fear can stop you in your tracks” and encourages those in the midst of domestic abuse to reach out for help.

It reads: “Domestic abuse presents in many different ways such as degrading and humiliating comments, controlling behaviours, social and family isolation and violence.

“Many women and children have left their homes filled with family belongings and familiarity or had to move to a new area as it is not safe to stay at home.

“The kindness of our community has made a tremendous difference for families affected by domestic abuse. We want you to know that we could not do this without you.”

The letter comes just weeks after it was revealed West Dunbartonshire had the worst domestic abuse record in Scotland, prompting an immediate meeting of senior officials at West Dunbartonshire Council.

Last month, the authority’s chief executive Joyce White joined forces with fellow officers and elected members to declare their support to ending domestic abuse in the area with 16 days of action campaign as part of the White Ribbon pledge.

Councillor Caroline McAllister said: “As domestic abuse champion in West Dunbartonshire, I am delighted to officially sign the pledge and give my commitment to the White Ribbon Domestic Abuse Campaign.

“The council along with West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership is fully committed to eradicating domestic abuse from our communities and we are actively working in partnership to tackle gender-based violence.

“Despite the significant ongoing work, West Dunbartonshire has the highest rates of domestic abuse in Scotland and more worrying a high rate of repeat offenders.

“Together we must work to address the issues faced by our residents and find a way to stop violence against women, children and men. We need to get the message out that domestic abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The council also promised to maintain its support of the organisation by continuing its funding for the next three years during last month’s budget meeting.

If you require support from the DDWA, contact them on 01389 751 or visit