SOUTH YORKSHIRE Police have urged the public to be on the look-out for signs of domestic abuse this Christmas.

Each year, police forces across the country report a spike in domestic abuse incidents around Christmas.

Throughout the festive period increased alcohol consumption and pressure within families can lead to physical violence within relationships.

It can also be the catalyst for sexual or psychological abuse.

Force Lead for domestic abuse, superintendent Shelley Hemsley said: “Coercive and controlling behaviour creates fear within a relationship, this is not normal.

“Examples might be a partner saying who you can and can’t see, telling you what you wear, checking your bank accounts, taking your phone away or stopping you seeing your family.”

The police also aim to urge victims of abuse to seek help.

“Are you spending your holiday in a family bubble with someone who you’re scared of?

“I’d urge you to seek help and support now, we are here for you,” added supt Hemsley.

“Controlling behaviour can often lead to other forms of abuse, but it’s also an offence in its own right. If you’re concerned, it’s always worth speaking to someone.”

To report instances of domestic abuse you can phone 999, or contact Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247.