A PROJECT to support people escaping domestic abuse has revealed that more than 99,000 calls reporting violent incidents have been made to North-East police forces since January 2014.

The Freedom Project, run by Dogs Trust – the dog welfare charity – has discovered that Durham Police received more than 54,000 reports of domestic violence in the force area.

Around 15,000 calls were made to Cleveland Police in 2016 with 30,000 domestic incidents reported in Northumbria in the past year.

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The figures contribute to an average of more than 40 domestic abuse-related calls made to North-East forces per day, according to force data released today.

Dogs Trust have now announced a commitment to helping survivors of domestic abuse crimes and dogs abused in the same home by expanding its Freedom Project pet fostering scheme to the region.

Diane Muskett, Freedom Project co-ordinator for the North-East and Yorkshire, said: “Some people find themselves in impossible situations, when the only option to flee from an abusive home would be to give up their dog or leave them behind.

“A survey of clients that have used our service showed that 52 per cent of the dogs that we fostered on the Freedom Project had been threatened with or actually harmed by the abuser before the owner was able to go in to refuge and refer their dog to us for foster care.

“We could not run this project without the help of our amazing foster carers who lovingly care for the dogs in their own homes until they can be reunited with their owners.

“We now urgently need foster carers in the North-East area as we expand our service, so if you think you could help, please get in touch.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or accessing the Dogs Trust Freedom Project can visit dogstrustfreedomproject.org.uk, email freedomproject@dogstrust.org.uk or call 0800-2989199.