'DOMESTIC abuse does not discriminate' is the message of a new police campaign aimed at encouraging hidden victims to come forward.

North Yorkshire Police want to hear from people who may be anxious about reporting abuse because they feel that they won't be understood.

While the majority of reported incidents do involve heterosexual couples, with violence perpetrated by men against women, the police believe there are likely to be many other victims out there scared of coming forward.

Over the past year, North Yorkshire Police received more than 100 reports of domestic abuse from victims in a same sex relationship, 88 reports involving ethic minority communities and 184 cases where the victim was over 65.

However, with charities such as Stonewall stating that one in four lesbian and bi women have experienced domestic abuse and almost half of all gay and bi men have experienced at least one incident of abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16, the police are concerned that a large number of cases are going unreported.

Bob Williams, North Yorkshire Police's multi-agency tasking and coordination manager, said: “Nothing a victim of domestic abuse could tell me could shock me. I am not here to sit in judgement on anyone.

"I am here to support victims and help them take back control of their life, so they can make their own decisions about their own future.

“We understand that coming forward and seeking help can be intimidating for victims.

"Talking through the intimate and painful details of your life is not something many people want to do. "However, through this campaign we want to reassure all victims, this is what we are here to do - to listen, to understand, and find the best way to support you to move forward."

The force works with a range of partner agencies to support victims such as IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Service), Karma Nirvana, Mankind and the Men’s Advice Line who all understand the challenges that victims face to take action against an abusive partner.

Mr Williams said: “Each set of circumstances we deal with is as individual as victim themselves; there is no ‘typical’ case of domestic abuse.

"So please do not be deterred from getting help because you think we will not understand your situation.”

He added: “As the key message of our campaign states – domestic abuse does not discriminate – it doesn’t care about your race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or even where you live – violence can be experienced by anyone, at any point in their life."

Anyone affected by domestic abuse can contact 03000 110 110 or email info@idas.org.uk