The MSP for Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley has highlighted the help that is available for victims of domestic abuse and has encouraged them to reach out for support.

Elena Whitham MSP has encouraged anyone dealing with these kinds of situations to reach out for any help they can.

The SNP representative was highlighting that the winter season can result in an increase in domestic abuse cases as the colder weather and time off work mean that more time is spent at home.

The SNP MSP is ensuring that people know where to go for help, by sharing details of the Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (0800 027 1234) which is operational 24/7 and the silent call emergency service, accessible by dialling 55 after calling 999.

She has also welcomed the steps taken by the Scottish Government to tackle domestic abuse, including the refreshed Equally Safe Strategy.

Ms Whitham has sent the message to everyone suffering at the hands of domestic abuse that they “are not at fault”.

The Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley MSP said: “Everyone deserves to live their lives free of violence. Domestic abuse is at odds with this goal and is an all-too-common scene in households across the country.

“With the cold weather here and the festive season just passed, victims will be spending more time at home than normal and will find themselves at the hands of controlling, threatening, or violent behaviour.

“If this describes you, my message is clear, you are not at fault and help is available.

“The Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline – 0800 027 1234 – which is managed by Scottish Women’s Aid, has trained professionals who are waiting on your call 24/7. They can give you expert advice on leaving the situation you are in and provide details of your nearest Women’s Aid centre.

“Please remember that if you are in an emergency, you can make a silent call to the police by dialling 55 after you call 999. This will automatically connect you to Police Scotland and you will not be required to speak.

“I know it can be extremely daunting, but please take advantage of the help that is available to you. You deserve a safe, healthy, and happy home.”