Domestic abuse reports have risen by around 80 per cent during the pandemic as more women seek support to get out their home during lockdown.

North Ayrshire Women’s Aid experienced a 78 per cent increase in requests for refuge accommodation during 2020/21 – compared to the same period in the previous year.

Councillors heard levels more than doubled in the first quarter of 2020, after independent councillor Donald L Reid questioned the level, and extent, of domestic violence in North Ayrshire from March 2020 – August 2021, during the pandemic.

He also asked what further steps are being taken to tackle it.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie explained that whilst requests for refuge accommodation dropped slightly in the first quarter of 2021, they are still 123 per cent higher than the pre pandemic levels.

Requests for the Women’s Aid Outreach Support and advice service has now returned to pre-pandemic levels, having dropped by 15 per cent in the early stages of the pandemic.

Cllr Montgomerie, the Labour cabinet member for Green New Deal and Sustainability, added: “During the pandemic, there were concerns that women and girls were unable to get away from their abuser and whilst any increase in domestic violence is unacceptable, it is encouraging that women and girls are able to access support and accommodation services.”