The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is an annual International campaign that commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. These dates were chosen to emphasise that violence against women is a violation of human rights.

2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the global campaign and considering the global increase in femicide throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, known as the “shadow pandemic of femicide and gender-based violence”, this year’s campaign will focus on the issue of ‘femicide or the gender related killing of women’.

Every week in the UK 3 women are killed by their partner or ex-partner. This year alone there have been 115 women killed so far at the hands of men known to them. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and a domestic abuse incident is recorded every 9 minutes in Scotland. In West Lothian 2,310 incidents were recorded in the past year with 82% of these involving a female victim and male perpetrator.  With the Scottish recording being 62, 907.

To honour the women who have lost their lives as well as those who have survived domestic abuse, we would like to invite you to participate in a minute’s silence on 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at 1100. We encourage you to do this at home, in the office or wherever you may be, to show your support for these women by holding them in your thoughts.

The 2021 theme in West Lothian is ‘Light Up’ which places a spotlight on the issue of VAW and encourages people to get involved through awareness raising and community-led activities. The slogan ‘What will you do?’ is a call to action for everyone to get involved and commit to action. West Lothian Council have a series of events, training and media releases planned throughout the 16 days and we would encourage you to get involved and show solidarity against a prevalent and cross cutting issue which continues to impact on our communities. #LightUpScotland #WhatWillYouDo?