It has been shocking to learn this week that West Lothian has reported the greatest increase in domestic violence incidents in Scotland in the past year, up by a staggering 18%. It is true to say that West Lothian is one of the few councils in Scotland that core fund a Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Team and that the work of this team may have resulted in greater numbers of cases being reported, but their undoubtedly important work cannot account for such a huge rise, and there can be no question that that this not a league table that West Lothian wants to be at the head of.
This sad statistic is yet another by-product of our open-ended lockdown, and we now urgently call on the Scottish Government to give us a clear outline of their plans to exit this current set of restrictions safely, but in a timely fashion.
Related to the domestic violence news is the welcome announcement of a new Inclusion and Support Unit in West Lothian, but it begs the question: why there hasn’t been one here until now?
I first worked in a family intervention programme for Plymouth City Council in 2005 – it was a pioneering pilot project at the time, and following its success, the policy was rolled out nationwide in subsequent years. With all the pockets of deprivation and known generational issues with particular families that we have had for many years in West Lothian, why has it taken until now for the council to act?
This is yet another example of why we need better voices representing all of us in West Lothian Council, voices who speak for all our families - no matter their needs - and voices who will get things done.
So make sure you vote for Caron Lindsay in the upcoming Livingston South By Election on Thursday 11 March and find out more about what the West Lothian Liberal Democrats are doing here.
And if you would like help or support with any of the issues raised in this article, then please contact the West Lothian Domestic and Sexual Assault Team (DASAT) on 01506 281055 or email [email protected]
Parliamentary Candidate - Linlithgow