THERE are a staggering seven incident of domestic violence reported a day in the Yeovil and Somerset East Police District - officers have revealed.

And now a new unit has been set up at Yeovil Police Station to raise awareness about domestic violence which made up 5.7 per cent of all crimes committed in the district from April 2004-05.

During that period there were a total of 1,138 incidents of domestic violence reported which equates to 44 per 10,000 people.

Domestic violence has been classed as any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

And ADS Mark Langdon, of Yeovil Police, revealed that 22 per cent of all violent crime during 2004-05 in the district was domestic while, worryingly, 28 per cent of all cases were repeat victims.

"Thirty-three per cent of all killings in this country are domestic related," he said. "We need to raise awareness of the issues surrounding domestic violence.

"A Lot of victims are not prepared to leave their partners because of fear, they are worried about their children or have nowhere to live. While some say they 'love' their partners, but really they are living in a controlled culture.

"We want to unmask domestic abuse and we want to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Chief Superintendent Andy Marsh has welcomed the new domestic violence unit at Yeovil and is confident it will help to reduce the number of incidents.

"We want to see a decrease in the abuse," he said. "We now need to improve confidence among victims that we will deal with them properly - especially those who are repeat victims."

Chief Supt Marsh added: "Domestic violence causes so much harm and damage. We know that children who are raised in houses where it goes on have poor attendance records at school, their education suffers and they often get into contact with the police."

The cost of each household on a national basis is £90 a year towards domestic violence issues including police, NHS and the Ambulance Service.