WOMEN have been reminded they are “not a burden” as those seeking support from domestic abuse shot up 45 per cent during the pandemic lockdown.

Clydebank Women’s Aid (CWA) pledged their backing for survivors and other affected family members as council bosses confirmed the number of victims left homeless had also gone up.

West Dunbartonshire Council said the number of homeless presentations was 45 between March and June, compared to 37 the year before.

CWA said the lockdown had allowed the community to appreciate the things they hold dearest “since the stark reality of living with the threat of Covid-19 had snatched them away”.

They bluntly told the Post: “We’ve been starved from the affection of our grandchildren and nights with a drink in the pub with our closest friends appeared out of reach. However, things are slowly phasing into a new normal.

“For women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse their lockdown experience has not been one filled with baking, DIY or Zoom quizzes, it has been one spent under the constant watch of their abuser – walking on eggshells at every possible moment.”

The charity adapted their services as quickly as they could when lockdown started in March, recognising the “detrimental and life threatening” period for women, children and young people.

CWA said: “We have seen a stark rise in the number of women reaching out for support and a clear increase in local services such as housing associations and the police referring women to our service.

“This is a rise of around 45 per cent when compared to the same period last year. We have worked closely with West Dunbartonshire Council’s homeless team to ensure the safety of as many women, children and young people who needed, and asked for, safe and alternative accommodation.”

But they said: “A running theme of women who contacted us, and one we hear often, is, ‘I don’t want to be a burden’.

“We want to stress that no woman, child, or young person who has ever been in touch with our service, or will use our service in the future, will ever be considered a burden.

“We are committed to and strive to work tirelessly for those who use our service to ensure they have the safe space needed to consider all the options open to them and we will support every choice that is made.”

The charity said there was no “hierarchy of abuse” and that all forms have adverse impact on the women, children and young people.

They added: “We will support you. Your experiences and feelings are valid, and you are not a burden.”

CWA are offering phone and email support currently, but are aiming to have their face-to-face drop-in service open as soon as possible. They have accessed a temporary extra counselling space to ensure no woman in crisis would ever be turned away.

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If you need support, call Clydebank Women’s Aid on 0141 952 8118 (10am-4pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-1pm Friday) or email collective.clydebankwa@gmail.com.