All three Ayrshire councils in partnership with NHS Ayrshire & Arran and Police Scotland, have joined together in a campaign to remind people that a wide range of help and support services continue to be available to anyone dealing with harm or abuse.

The ‘Here to Help’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that support services, including third sector, are ready and able to help anyone who is experiencing harm or abuse, even during the current pandemic.

Councillor Robert Foster, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care in North Ayrshire, said: “While the stay at home message has been crucial throughout the pandemic in terms of public health, for some adults and children in North Ayrshire this increased isolation has unfortunately placed them in a situation where they are more at risk from harm than ever.

“Harm comes in many forms, from physical and mental abuse, to neglect or self-neglect, self-harm or vulnerability to fraud, and it is so important that we look out for signs of these in our friends, family and neighbours and report any concerns we may have. It’s always better to say something than to do nothing.

“We’d like to remind everyone that our adult and child protection services are operating as normal during the pandemic and would urge anyone who is worried about someone’s wellbeing to please get in touch with either ourselves or the police so that we can help them to get the support that they need.”

Professor Hazel Borland, Nurse Director, said: “Throughout this pandemic, our health and care staff have continued to provide support to those dealing with harm and abuse.

“During these difficult times, your health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance and you should seek help if you are concerned about yourself or someone else.”

Detective Chief Inspector Amanda McHarg of Ayrshire Divisions’ Public Protection Unit, said: “Across Ayrshire we recognise that home hasn’t necessarily been a safe place for all vulnerable people and, in fact, some may have been exposed to even greater risk of abuse, harm and neglect during this challenging period. It is absolutely crucial that our communities know that help is out there.”

If you are worried about yourself or someone else who is at risk of harm, you should call the police on 999 if it’s an emergency, or otherwise call 101. For a health-related issue, call 111 or you can also speak to your local social work service. Any children who are worried about harm or abuse can call Childline on 0800 1111.