LEADING UK campaigner against domestic abuse, Luke Hart, has helped Stirling and Clackmannanshire Gender Based Violence Partnerships to launch their ‘16 Days of Action’ campaign.

Luke and his brother, Ryan, who are from Lincolnshire, travel across the country and internationally to raise awareness of coercive control following a personal family tragedy.

In 2016, their dad murdered their mother, Claire, and sister, Charlotte, after years of coercive control, before committing suicide.

Since then, the Hart brothers have committed to challenging male violence against women and children by sharing their harrowing story, including starting a charity called CoCo Awareness.

Tackling violence against women and girls is the mission of ‘16 Days of Action’ - an international campaign started by the Women’s Global Partnership in 1991.

Luke was the headline speaker as the local campaign, which has been organised by Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils and a host of third sector organisations, got underway at a conference at the Albert Halls in Stirling.

He said: “Events like this are crucial for raising awareness and understanding of domestic abuse.

“We never understood the coercive control our father was perpetrating was so dangerous or that it even had a name, until we saw a poster on coercive control in the police station, just days after our father murdered mum and Charlotte.”

At the event, Luke and representatives from both local authorities and other agencies signed the White Ribbon Pledge to never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women in all its forms.

Stuart Oliver, Senior Manager for Economic Development and Communities at Stirling Council, said: “Having Luke come to Stirling to deliver such powerful and moving testimony really drove home the importance of our ‘16 Days of Action’ campaign and tackling domestic abuse against women and children.

“As a partnership, we recognise this is a serious issue and we work closely together to raise awareness and support people affected by gender-based violence.

“Earlier this year, Stirling Council also approved a new policy on Domestic Abuse to ensure we have the correct help and support in place for our employees.

“The work of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire Gender Based Partnerships is vital and the wide-ranging events taking place over the coming weeks will help raise awareness with people on this issue and highlight that domestic abuse is not just physical.”