Bosses responsible for cracking down on domestic violence have been criticised after a dramatic rise in cases.
New figures have revealed there has been a 43% rise in domestic violence reports in Lancashire over the past five years with 20,784 calls in just one year.
Lancashire County Council’s scrutiny committee met to consider a report which revealed funding threats to staff employed to tackle the issue.
The minutes of the County Hall meeting said: “Practitioners recognised that Lancashire was currently behind the curve of best practice on these issues.
“In recent years reported incidences of domestic had been increasing sharply with a 43% increase in reports over the past five years.
“While in part this was due to a greater willingness by victims to report such crimes, it also raised the question of what an effective response to it by public services should be.”
Statistics showed Preston had the highest level of domestic violence calls with 3,572 between January and December 2011, while Home Office data has revealed 79% of cases go unreported.
The figures which excluded Blackpool and Blackburn, showed Lancaster had the second highest number of calls with 2,665 and 2,474 in Burnley.
Lancashire County Coun David Smith, community safety lead for Lancashire County Council, said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a key priority for Lancashire’s community safety partner organisations.
“Together, we are committed to improving services for victims of domestic abuse, both to ensure they get the support they need and to change the behaviour of perpetrators.
“Everyone has the right to live safely in their own home, and when victims of abuse reach out for help, they need to have the confidence that support is there.”
Detective Superintendent Ian Critchley, head of public protection for Lancashire police, said, “We want victims to come forward at the earliest opportunity as we do not want them to suffer at the hands of those that they often trust most. By doing so, together with our partners we can help to prevent further abuse and violence and improve the safety of victims and their children.
“Victims of domestic abuse and their children have the right to live safely in their own home.
“There is a wide range of support available to them here in Lancashire.
“I would also like to emphasise that a significant amount of time is invested in dealing with offenders too.”
Meanwhile the Preston Domestic Violence Services has launched a major campaign with Preston North End to try to raise awareness of male victims of domestic violence.
The ‘Men2’ serving will feature banners and posters across Deepdale raising awareness of the issue and encouraging victims to get in touch.
Since the service was launched in March it has seen 47 referrals.