CAMBRIDGESHIRE police is urging young victims of domestic abuse to contact the force or support services, so they can get the help and advice they need.

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The appeal has coincided with a change in legislation, which meant the definition of domestic violence includes 16 and 17 year old victims as from April 1.

Det Insp Alan Page said: “We have already seen an increase in the reporting of domestic abuse by young people, and the change in definition means they are now nationally acknowledged as victims.

“We have support mechanisms in place to ensure these victims can get the help and advice they need.

“I would urge anyone who is a victim of abuse to contact police or one of the many support services available.”

The latest crime survey for England and Wales shows that 31 per cent of women and 18 per cent of men have experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16.

Deirdre Reed, Domestic Abuse multi agency referral unit manager, said: “It’s important that we respond to young victims, ideally at the early stages of an abusive relationship, by providing appropriate dedicated resources to support and protect them.

“This should be done in a joined up and co-ordinated approach with relevant services. We need to remind ourselves that young victims of domestic abuse under the age of 18 are still children as defined by The Children Act, and we have a duty of care to protect them.”

Any young person suffering domestic abuse can call: Cambridgeshire police - 101; the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 0808 2000 247 ; Women’s Aid and Refuge Helpline – 0800 2000 247; Men’s advice line – 0808 801 0327; Every Man project – 0207 263 8884; Childline – 0800 11 11.

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