THERE is concern lockdown has exposed Glaswegians to greater risk of domestic abuse. 

Chiefs at animal welfare charity Scottish SPCA (SSPCA), which has a centre in Cardonald, worry people are being put in harm's way by being confined to a home "with their abuser". 

The SSPCA has now relaunched a domestic abuse campaign in a bid to protect both animals and humans from harm. 

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First Strike was first introduced in 1998 to highlight the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. 

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of education, policy and research, said: “The relaunch of our First Strike campaign reaffirms the Scottish SPCA’s commitment to helping people and animals who are victims of domestic violence. 

“The nature of our work means we often enter situations where domestic violence is a problem, and in our experience animals can often be the forgotten victims. Pets can be exploited as a form of control by an abuser and be beaten or mistreated directly. 

“There is real concern the lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic has put those who were already being abused at even greater risk, confining them to a home with their abuser. 

Glasgow Times: Gilly Mendes Ferreira, right Gilly Mendes Ferreira, right

"We are determined to help people and their pets, should they find themselves in this situation.”

When it was originally launched, First Strike was adopted by The Links Group, which consists of medical professionals, veterinary surgeons, police, social workers and animal welfare organisations. 

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Ms Mendes Ferreira said: “It is well known that many factors can negatively impact a child’s behaviour which includes growing up in an abusive household, in an environment where violence is commonplace, and suffering from severe trauma.

"Sadly, this can lead to animals becoming hurt both intentionally and unintentionally and should be seen as an early warning sign that that child and that household needs help and we are calling on all agencies that work in our communities to recognise this link.

“If anyone is in an abusive relationship and concerned about the wellbeing of themselves and their pet then we would urge them to contact our confidential animal helpline. Please don’t feel there is nowhere to turn."