SUPPORT groups and dignitaries have come together today in a strong show of support for victims of domestic violence.

The first major event held at West Dorset District Council’s new offices in Dorchester saw a host of speakers gather at the No Excuse for Abuse information sharing day.

Among those present were Police Crime Commissioner for Dorset Martyn Underhill, new Chief Constable Debbie Simpson, Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Valerie Pitt-Rivers, High Sheriff Jeremy Pope and the mayors of Dorchester, Bridport and Weymouth and Portland.

The event was organised by the West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum.

Chairman of the forum and district councillor Molly Rennie said the day was all about bringing services working to tackle domestic violence together and finding ways to make them more accessible to victims.

She said: “Domestic violence is on the increase with reporting figures up nine per cent both locally and nationally.

“We have got to offer people support and help them if they are willing to come forward and disclose information.”

Councillor Rennie said the day was inspired by an event at Kingston Maurward last year that was organised by the Equality South West and WAND (The Women’s Action Network Dorset) that brought frontline workers together.

She said she was delighted for the turnout at South Walks House from both support groups and dignitaries.

Coun Rennie said: “It’s amazing the number of people who are here and have come to hear, to listen and to help people.

“The only way we can help people is if we share information.”

As she welcomed dignitaries to the event Coun Rennie said: “It’s incredible so many people have come together today, it sends a very strong message.”

Community development officer for West Dorset District Council Emma Scott said the event was also for people who were personally affected by domestic violence to come and find out more about the organisations that are out there to offer support.