ALMOST a third of violent crime in Cumbria concerns domestic abuse.

Police revealed the figures following the launched of a multi-agency project to tackle the prevalence of the "appalling and debilitating" crime.

The force said 2017/2018 saw a two per cent increase in the number of domestic abuse crimes on the previous year, largely due to a greater awareness and increased confidence in reporting such incidents as well as the constabulary’s compliance with new crime recording procedures.

The Cumbria Domestic Abuse Champions’ Network launched on Monday and aims to raise awareness of domestic across Cumbrian communities and organisations. It is a partnership between Cumbria Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Cumbria County Council and Women’s Community Matters.

Detective Superintendent Vicki Ellis, of the force's Public Protection Unit, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to make a real difference to people in this county.

“Domestic abuse affects a large number of people in this county, both directly and indirectly. It is an appalling and debilitating crime that can isolate a victim into a cycle of abuse.

“What the network is aiming to achieve is open a discussion on domestic abuse, challenge any misconceptions and provide further confidence to victims in reporting what is happening to them.

"We seek to provide a whole family approach to tackling domestic abuse which recognises the impact on children who experience domestic abuse in the family environment.

"By supplying our champions with knowledge in identifying and dealing with such incidents we can help prevent further victims and help those who are suffering.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, Peter McCall said it will enable a greater level of support for victims and those affected.

“Over time domestic abuse victim’s self-esteem can be worn away, they often start to believe the abuser’s insults, blame themselves for the abuse, or even deny that it is taking place.

"Domestic abuse also impacts upon children, can dismantle family units and challenge networks across our wider communities, schools and businesses.

“It is essential that we tackle domestic abuse as early as possible to help prevent people from suffering, and the champions’ network will help us to improve our community and agency responses.”

Training around domestic abuse and information sharing and networking opportunities will be delivered as part of the project.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for Local Communities, said: “This is an important partnership project and one which I hope will encourage more domestic abuse victims to come forward. By hearing their voices and understanding how domestic abuse affects people’s lives, we can develop a network of support and work together to prevent future domestic abuse and to support those affected by it.”