WOMEN'S Aid East Renfrewshire & South Lanarkshire have launched a brand new social media campaign to raise awareness of physical and emotional domestic abuse.

The #check_in campaign was launched by the support service, alongside their first Instagram page, with CEO Heather Morris saying that the timing of the campaign couldn't come at a better time.

She said: "Regarding what lockdown has done for people in these situations, it has been really difficult for many.

"Not being able to get out of the house and for there to be no routine in life means that we have had to adapt out services and how people can reach us."

According to research by Women's Aid, the demand in service to new referrals initially decreased as lockdown began.

Heather said: "The demand did decrease originally when lockdown began, but we did see an uptake in services from those who had already been using us, plus a surge in the service as we begin to come out of lockdown.

"As lockdown began and anxieties about home situations began to sink in, there was worry about how to handle the situations and, for many, even just not being able to get out of the house and have those breaks during the day was huge."

The #check_in campaign was designed to target the awareness of young people when it comes to domestic abuse, launching on social media and encouraging user to share the hashtag.

She said: "Young people don't tend to recognise the traditional signs of abuse and many think that it only happens in longer term relationships which isn't true.

"Abuse is similar to COVID, you can't see it but it is all around us. The #check_in campaign reminds us to check in with those we are worried about but also recognise those that haven't checked in with friends of family for a while."

According to statistics, around one in four people suffer domestic abuse at some point in life, with 99 per cent of victims suffering from financial abuse at the hand of a partner also.

Heather said: "The chances are you know someone who has gone through this, even though you might not be fully aware.

"The most important thing is to stay informed and recognise those signs."

Support is still available to those seeking help, with a 24/7 helpline available on 0800 027 1234 or by emailing helpline@sdafmh.org.uk.