PEOPLE at high-risk of domestic abuse will be given special alarms by police.

The announcement of the £110,000 initiative arrives alongside the launch of Police Scotland’s festive campaign to tackle domestic abuse.

Staggering figures revealed this week showed domestic abuse increases by 25 per cent over the festive period.

Between Christmas Eve 2016 and January 5 2017, police received on average 199 reports of domestic incidents daily, compared to 158.5 reports daily on average outside of this period.

Christine Miller, Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire team manager, said: “We very much welcome the new funding and its effectiveness in protecting women.

“We are hopeful of getting a good share of the money in this area to get alarms, which will allow high risk victims to connect with police immediately and have them to respond to what is likely to be an emergency situation.”

The new alarms will be used alongside methods already in use to maximise the safety of potential victims of domestic abuse. The devices will be rolled out locally early next year.

Ms Miller added: “The figures of domestic abuse don’t make good reading, and it must be remembered that, four out of every five cases still go unreported.

“A quarter of all police business is domestic abuse, but I must say police are very pro-active in helping prevent a crime which has devastating impacts on families at any time of the year, but particularly over the festive period.

“There is always an increase in alcohol consumption at this time of year and people are at home a lot more. But alcohol is not the cause of domestic abuse, it is too often used as the excuse.”

Rae Gilbert, children and young people’s outreach worker with Renfrewshire Women’s Aid, in Paisley, added: “The new alarms are a great idea, which will also offer live tracking. I very much welcome the campaign too, as anything which can get the message across is a good thing. Police have become much more effective than in previous years.

“Christmas and New Year time always brings on increased domestic abuse because of financial pressures and families being together more.”

Launching Police Scotland’s domestic abuse marketing campaign, Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald said: “The festive season is traditionally a time when people get together to celebrate but for some the threat of domestic abuse hangs over them.”

The campaign will run for four weeks at a cost of £22,500.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Even though we know it happens every year, it’s no less disheartening to find police experience a surge in domestic abuse calls during the festive period.

“This Police Scotland campaign is an excellent challenge to all perpetrators, reminding them that police officers take a zero tolerance approach and are fully prepared to take on what is one of society’s most insidious crimes.”

The Scottish Government is currently progressing a Domestic Abuse Bill aimed at making psychological abuse and coercive control a criminal offence.

Mr Matheson added: “I want victims of domestic abuse to know they will be taken seriously and be supported by the justice system even if it seems like they are alone.”