REPORTS of domestic violence in Cumbria have gone up by 2.2 per cent, according to new national statistics.

Crime figures released by The Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed there were 6,563 domestic abuse incidents recorded in the county in 2012/3.

This is up from 6,422 over the same period in 2010/11, and works out to between 17 and 18 incidents a day.

Mike Forrester, Cumbria Constabulary’s Detective Chief Superintendent, said the rise was ‘a good thing’ and in line with the force’s targets to increase reporting of domestic violence. “Domestic violence is still a totally under-reported crime – it’s estimated that it happens 35 times before someone reports it,” said DCS Forrester.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that people tell us sooner. “These figures increasing is what we want, because it shows people have increased confidence in our ability to do something about it.

“It’s not necessarily about locking offenders up because that’s not what families want, it’s more about making sure people are made aware of the damage they are causing to their partners and families.”

The extent of domestic abuse in the UK was revealed in the ONS figures, showing that more than 1.1million women and 720,000 men have been victims of ‘intimate violence’.

The largest rise in reported cases was in the North of England – with North Yorkshire and Greater Manchester having the highest increases, at 29.7 per cent and 21.3 per cent respectively.

A spokesperson for Impact Housing, which provides the Letgo Service for domestic abuse victims in Cumbria, said: “We are encouraged to see a rise in reported offences as this demonstrates an increased confidence in the criminal justice system and support services available.

“The increased numbers of victims is not totally unforeseen - at Letgo we recognise that many couples are facing more and more pressures including financial problems which unfortunately can negatively affect relationships.”