Calls to a domestic abuse helpline have increased following the Christmas and New Year period.
Falkirk’s Women Aid says the second week in January is typically when they experience a spike in pleas for help ... and this year has been no different.
The support service believes many women abused by their partners over the festive holidays stay tight-lipped until January.
Manager Chris Murphy said: “What we have found is that, no matter what the situation is, many women, and it is mostly women, will try to keep the family together over Christmas and New Year, particularly when there are children involved.
“We have again experienced an increase in calls and it is usual for us to receive this around the second week of January and onwards.
“It’s difficult to say exactly how many more we get as it could be women who we are already working with or it could be a new call, but there is an increase,”
Detective Chief Inspector Barry Blair, from Central Scotland Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Over the festive period, we noted an increase in domestic incidents, with a notable rise on Christmas Day/Boxing Day and again over the New Year period.
“During these times, we know there are increased family pressures and it is clear that excessive consumption of alcohol plays a significant part.”
The Women’s Aid service in Falkirk says it mostly deals with women who have been abused by their partners.
Chris added: “When women are abused, it’s about control of a woman by a man and it tends to be sustained.
“Women suffer an enormous amount of fear, sometimes of just remaining in their home.
“There are a small amount of cases when men are abused by women but the circumstances tend to be different – it’s not sustained, it’s not about control and there is not the same fear factor.
“But it is important to say that, while men are mostly the perpetrators, most men are not perpetrators.”
Chris added: “It’s important women realise that they are not alone, and that it’s not their fault.
“Even if women just want to come in for a one-off chat, that’s fine, but we can also give practical help like moving and benefits, as well as support them if they decide to stay with the man.”
For help, support or advice, contact Falkirk Women’s Aid at Unit 6, Callendar Business Park, or call (01324) 692021.
Central Scotland Police also have specialist staff dedicated to assisting people who are affected by domestic abuse who work closely with Women’s Aid and other partners.
The force is able to provide support and security measures to victims and encourage anyone needing helpo to contact the Domestic Abuse Unit on (01324) 574905.