FORTH Valley Police Division continues to respond to all domestic incidents as a matter of priority during the lockdown.

Cathy Sharkey, the area’s community policing sergeant, stressed that message amid concerns the lockdown may make reporting domestic offences harder.

She told the Advertiser: “I just want to emphasise that despite what's currently going on, domestic abuse continues to be our priority and our response to that has not changed.

“I recognise that reporting may prove difficult for some victims and that controlling or coercive control during lockdown may prevent access to telephones or other mechanisms of reporting.

“I want to encourage disclosure by any means to ensure they can be afforded the help and support required.”

Her message came on the back of a public message released by Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable, Duncan Sloan, in recent days.

In a video published on the force’s social media channels, he said there was an “increased risk” of domestic abuse during lockdown.

Indeed, requests under Police Scotland’s domestic abuse disclosure scheme increased by 18 per cent since lockdown began.

And in response to the growing risk of increased levels of domestic offending, the assistant chief constable said: “We want to reassure everyone that we are still responding to all domestic incidents.

“Police Scotland will not tolerate domestic abuse, tackling it is a priority for us and that has not changed because of Covid-19.

“It could take some time before we have a clear picture of the effect enforced isolation due to Covid-19 has had on the incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland.

“That’s why it’s so important that people understand that we’re here to help now.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s responsibility; domestic abuse is not acceptable, and it’s not inevitable.

“We will continue to treat reports of domestic abuse as a priority, we will listen and we will investigate.”

Anyone experiencing domestic abuse can contact Clackmannanshire Women's Aid on 01259 721407 or by emailing ClacksWomensAid@gmail.com

Support can also be obtained through the 24/7 Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234.