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http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/all-about/west%20dunbartonshire

365 Poster exhibition hosted by Dumbarton Refuge

Dumbarton District Women’s Aid Hosts celebrated International Women’s Day 2014 by hosting the Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition. Curated by Colm Dempsey , a Child Protection specialist from Dublin, this is 365’s third successful visit to West Dunbartonshire. The exhibition, currently in its tenth year of worldwide touring, was on display in a women’s refuge for the first time. Colm and Dumbarton’s Refuge workers were delighted that the display’s powerful and hard-hitting posters received a positive response from the local community. The invitation-only event proved popular with the general public, refuge residents, Councillors Hazel Sorrel, Jim Brown and Ian Murray and Jackie Baillie MSP.

In a week when disturbing findings from the Europe-wide Violence Against Women Everyday and Everywhere study were published, exhibitions like 365 are still needed to remind us of what goes on in our midst. Of the 42,000 women polled, 33% had experienced physical or sexual violence and 43% had experienced some form of psychological violence by a current or previous partner. West Dunbartonshire figures suggest that the extent of the problem here is similar to the rest of Europe.

International Women’s Day, however, is a good time to celebrate a quiet domestic abuse revolution which has been taking place in West Dunbartonshire over the last decade. By adopting a partnership approach, local agencies have gradually built an extensive range of specialist services and projects for women, children and young people including the Council’s CARA, CEDAR and Criminal Justice Women’s Safety Services, the Reduce Abuse Prevention Project, Dumbarton District and Clydebank Women’s Aid and ASSIST Advocacy Services. The partnership also includes specially trained local Police Scotland officers and together they have transformed the way domestic abuse is dealt with in West Dunbartonshire. This coordinated approach is designed to keep victims safe, help them deal with the impact of the abuse and to make sense of what can often appear a complicated court system. West Dunbartonshire can be proud that its specialist domestic abuse services are helping more and more local women to safely rebuild their lives.

The domestic abuse revolution is not yet complete however and the Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition will doubtless return to remind us of the private atrocities still going on in our midst. However, International Women’s Day 2014 was a good moment to reflect on the distance travelled and to celebrate the part played by local women whose dedication and hard work are making that revolution possible.

Dumbarton District Women’s Aid:
CONFIDENTIAL Domestic Abuse Helpline 01389 751036
http://www.ddwa.org.uk/

For further information on all other local VAW services please call 01389 738680.

In an emergency call 999

National Domestic Abuse helpline: 08000271234

Visit ‘Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition’ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/109391782794/

http://fra.europa.eu/en/press-release/2014/violence-against-women-every-day-and-everywhere

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Colm Dempsey’s Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition, now in its tenth year of touring, visited Scotland in March 2014.

In an interview with GlasgowAnni, Dubliner Colm describes how the Exhibition came about and the impact it has had on worldwide audiences over the years.

Colm’s interest in domestic abuse was instigated by his feelings of helplessness as a friend and as a police officer when his former (and first) girlfriend disclosed to him about the domestic abuse she was subjected to by her Garda officer husband.

In this extract Colm tells how that love story inspired the creation of 365.

The impact on the audiences who have seen 365 has often been profound.

Listen  as Colm tells the story of one woman for whom seeing the exhibition was life changing.

365 in Dumbarton Women's Aid Refuge

365 in Dumbarton Women’s Aid Refuge

365 in Dumbarton Women's Aid Refuge

365 in Dumbarton Women’s Aid Refuge

Colm Dempsey’s Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition, now in its tenth year of touring, visited Dumbarton Women’s Refuge as part of their International Women’s Day 2014 celebrations.

In an interview with GlasgowAnni, Dubliner Colm tells how the Exhibition came about and the impact it has had over the years.

Colm Dempsey

The idea for the exhibition came to Colm after meeting the late Ellen Pence during a visit to the world famous Duluth Domestic Violence Intervention Project in Minnesota http://www.theduluthmodel.org/ and touring the San Diego Family Justice Centre http://www.sandiego.gov/sandiegofamilyjusticecenter/ in 2001. Back at his job as a Garda officer felt that Ireland was ‘centuries behind the U.S. in its approach to domestic violence.   It was like going back in time to the eighteenth century’.

‘Ireland was centuries behind the U.S. in its approach to domestic violence.

It was like going back in time to the eighteenth century.’

Colm’s visit the U.S. in the first place was instigated by his feelings of helplessness as a friend and as a police officer when his former (and first) girlfriend disclosed to him about the domestic abuse she was subjected to by her Garda officer husband. Colm describes how his friend had nowhere to turn and how her difficult situation was made much worse by her husband’s position in the force, describing him as ‘a criminal in uniform’, Colm wanted to know ‘how to do my job better’.

‘a criminal in uniform’

The posters Colm brought back from the States formed the germ of an idea that saw the first 365 exhibition open in Dundalk Museum in 2004 with financial support from the Irish Department of Justice and the attendance of two senior Government Ministers. The exhibition was endorsed by Tanya Brown the sister of Nicole Brown who was murdered by O.J. Simpson.  Tanya wrote the foreword to the exhibition brochure. This created a media storm and generated a great deal of publicity for 365.

Among the visitors to the exhibition was Jan MacLeod of the Women’s Support Project in Glasgow and an invitation to visit Scotland soon followed.

‘I blame Jan MacLeod for everything’

‘I blame Jan MacLeod for everything’ jokes Colm who has since taken his exhibition all over Scotland returning several times to raise awareness of violence against women in Fife, the Western Isles, Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Dunbartonshire. Colm is impressed by Scotland’s national approach to tackling violence against women and thinks people here ‘get it’.

The exhibition has toured the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, has visited thirteen countries to date including U.S.,Canada, Cyprus, Russia and Taiwan and has the prospect of a visit to Norway and a return to Scotland in 2014. Having seen so many different national approaches to violence against women Colm’s view that Scotland is the most advanced of the UK jurisdictions is encouraging. Ireland, in his view, has a a bit of catching up to do.

The impact on the audiences who have seen 365 has often been profound. The visual impact of the at times very hard-hitting posters campaigning against domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault and child sexual abuse can be disturbing. The many different approaches and designs speak loudly of each country’s priorities and courage in confronting people with such difficult issues. Visiting the exhibition can be demanding for the visitor and comes with a health warning to alert them to what may disturb. Colm recalled the story of one woman from Dumbarton for whom seeing the exhibition was life changing. She told Colm during 365’s second visit to the area that she had been inspired by the exhibition to rethink her life and had since left her abusive partner.  Now happy and settled with a new partner, she put it all down to that first eye opening visit to 365.

Exhibiting 365 in the Women’s Refuge in Dumbarton was a gamble for Colm and organisers Moira Swanson, Chair of the Refuge Management Committee and Refuge Worker Janine Jardine. According to Moira, ‘All of those who attended commented on the visual impact of the exhibition’. Hosting it there also raised the profile of the valuable work being done by Dumbarton District Women’s Aid. ‘Members of the public and local politicians who visited said they didn’t realise all the services offered by West Dunbartonshire Council and also the range of services provided by Women’s Aid…the “not just refuge thing! “’, Moira added, highlighting a common underestimation of what Women’s Aid Groups actually do in addition to running refuges.

local politicians who visited said they didn’t realise… the range of services provided by Women’s Aid…the “not just refuge thing!”

Moira Swanson,  Chair, Dumbarton District Women’s Aid Management Committee 

When he is not touring with his exhibition, Colm is a researcher and Children’s Rights and Child Protection Specialist and Trainer working with  organisations across Ireland. His expertise in domestic abuse and violence against women continues to be focussed on improving the lives of children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. Happily relocated to Galway, Colm can be assured that 365 will continue to inspire people to do their jobs better, to get people talking about the unspeakable and to encourage people to speak out and get the help they need to live their lives free forever of abuse.

365 in Dumbarton Women's Aid Refuge
365 in Dumbarton Women’s Aid Refuge
Dumbarton District Women’s Aid:
CONFIDENTIAL Domestic Abuse Helpline 01389 751036

http://www.ddwa.org.uk/

Visit Violence Againsnt Women 365 International Poster Exhibition on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/109391782794/

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