Aberdeen’s Violence Against Women Partnership: 16 Days of Action Campaign

An international campaign which calls for the elimination of violence against women and children will be supported by Aberdeen’s Violence Against Women Partnership by highlighting the issue via a social media campaign and several online events which will span over two weeks in November and December.

The 16 Days of Action campaign runs from Wednesday 25 November (International Day for the elimination of Violence against Women) through to Thursday 10 December (International Human Rights Day) with the aim of highlighting the connection between human rights and domestic violence.

This year Aberdeen’s Violence Against Women Partnership have had to rethink how to raise awareness of the 16 Days of Action campaign.

Members of the public are invited to attend a virtual Q&A session to find out more about domestic abuse and coercive control. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions to domestic abuse charities, Police Scotland and other members of Aberdeen’s Violence Against Women Partnership. The Q&A session will be on Thursday 10th of December at 5pm and will last for 1 hour. Registration and further details for the event can be found here or by searching for ‘Aberdeen 16 Days of Action’ on Eventbrite.

To highlight the start of the campaign, the front of Marischal College will be lit orange on Wednesday 25 November as part of a worldwide campaign to Orange the World and spread the word about gender violence.

The campaign is about increasing women's safety, highlighting the nature and prevalence of violence against women, raising awareness of violence against women as a human rights issue, showing solidarity among women around the world, promoting women's leadership, lobbying government, and strengthening local work to tackle violence against women.

Carron McKellar, Detective Chief Inspector and Co-Chair of Aberdeen’s Violence Against Women Partnership said: “16 Days of Action is an important opportunity for the Violence Against Women Partnership in Aberdeen to raise awareness as we work together to ensure women and children are safe from abuse. This year is particularly important given the additional concerns relating to the impact that lockdown and living a more isolated life has brought as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We want to take this opportunity to highlight and remind people that support is available in our city for those who need it.”

The Coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected all aspects of life and, for survivors of domestic abuse, which is a pattern of persistent and controlling behaviour by a partner or ex-partner, it has resulted in increased risks of harm and has made seeking help more difficult.

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, Chair of Community Planning Aberdeen said: “Domestic violence is an attack on basic human rights, and we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and each other to raise awareness. I would encourage members of the public to attend the virtual Q&A session to find out more about what constitutes domestic abuse and coercive control and hear directly from organisations that deal with the issue on a daily basis.

“During the pandemic an increase in domestic violence has been reported which is why it is crucial that we do all we can to raise awareness in local communities and actively promote the support which is available in the city so that those who are experiencing domestic violence can get the help and assistance they need and deserve.”

Increased isolation can create an escalation in abuse, where those who are living with an abusive partner, may be less able to ask for help. Fewer visitors to the household mean that evidence of physical abuse can go unnoticed.

Lucy McNicol, coordinator of Aberdeen’s Violence Against Women Partnership, said: “The message throughout lockdown to ‘stay at home’ has not meant safe at home for those experiencing domestic abuse. If you are required to self-isolate or quarantine, it does not mean you cannot seek support and domestic abuse services are still available to help you think through your safety options and provide emotional support. You can access support by calling a national helpline or accessing support online. Local support services are also still open and are adapting the way they work to ensure you can still get the help you need.”

Violence against women includes but is not limited to physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, general community or in institutions, sexual harassment and intimidation at work and in the public sphere, sexual exploitation, dowry-related violence, female genital mutilation, forced and child marriages, and honour crimes. These different forms of violence against women have their roots in gender inequality and are therefore understood as gender-based violence. 

Some of the main contact numbers are listed below, more details can be found at the website address: https://communityplanningaberdeen.org.uk/domesticabuse

Police Scotland 

If you are in danger and it is an emergency, call 999. For non-emergencies call 101. 

National Domestic Abuse Helpline 

Free and confidential advice. Open to all. 24 hours a day.  

Telephone: 0800 027 1234. Website: sdafmh.org.uk 

Grampian Women’s Aid 

Telephone: 01224 593381. Website: grampian-womens-aid.com 

Rape Crisis Grampian 

Telephone: 01224 590932. Website: rapecrisisgrampian.co.uk