A ZERO-tolerance domestic abuse policy has made a difference to the lives of 130 victims in its first year, according to West Dunbartonshire Council.

The authority introduced the No Home for Domestic Abuse policy last June following the shameful statistic that our area topped the table for incidents of domestic violence in Scotland.

The proactive strategy brought in a range of support for victims including immediate access to practical help and legal assistance after any instance of violence in a council home.

Using anti-social behaviour powers and housing legislation, the council campaign also supports victims to remain in their home, while the perpetrator is removed and stopped from returning.

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In total, 130 people have been supported by the initiative, including eight men, in the year since it was launched.

Councillor Diane Docherty, convener of housing and communities, said: “These changes in our policy have supported people to change or escape from dangerous and often life-threatening situations.

“We have also had more than half of all Scottish local authorities consider adopting the scheme, so we are kick-starting progress on a national scale.”

A number of victims were assisted with changed locks, while others requested to be moved and were successfully relocated within West Dunbartonshire.

A significant number contacted the team for advice only and were provided with information about their options.

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Due to personal circumstance, some victims didn’t proceed with any action, but received advice and assistance about their rights in the future.

The council told the Post that the new policy saw them remove six perpetrators from homes following intervention and also provided support to help perpetrators make positive changes.

One victim shared her harrowing experience of domestic abuse in her home.

The 27-year-old said: “My partner was having problems with alcohol and drugs and had been violent in the past. This particular time last September, it was worse. I just knew I had to do something, because I was frightened at how far he had gone.

“I was lucky enough to have a good relationship with my health visitor. It was through her that I became involved in the council’s scheme. I’m so glad as I didn’t know where to turn to.”

“The officer I spoke to was brilliant with me. She explained everything, and all the different options available to me. Just having someone there that could answer my questions was great as before I felt like I was up against a brick wall and I wasn’t sure where to turn.

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“Within a week of contacting, I had keys to a new home which meant me and my kids could feel safe. That was the right choice for me but I know they also offer lock-changing and security cameras, as well as removing the person responsible for violence from the home.

“Even if you don’t feel comfortable going forward with that type of support, the one-to-one advice is so helpful.”