A JUNIOR police and crime commissioner has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging more male victims of domestic violence to come forward.

The No Less of a Man campaign is being fronted by Durham Police’s young police and crime commissioner (PCC) Libby Wright, from Stanley.

The 17-year-old, who is doing A-levels at Durham Sixth Form, said: “When I was researching it I realised there are a massive amount of men affected by this.

“There’s a stereotype they might be weak or not manly if this happens but that needs to disappear if we want to get more people to report it.

“I hope this campaign will be one of the things that helps to break down these stereotypes.”

One victim from County Durham, who did not want to be identified, said: “When I found out about what Durham Police was doing I thought it was phenomenal that they are taking this seriously.

“This has been incredibly difficult to un-box these things but I wanted to stand up and support what they’re doing.”

He added: “You’re with someone, and you’re married, and in a lot of ways it’s normal but there’s odd things. It’s a drip, drip, drip effect where you’re whole normality is being changed over a period of time. It’s coercion and control.

“I like to think I’m not a macho man, I’m professionally qualified, I’ve got a good job.

“People would think I’m strong but I’ve had the realisation now that if it can happen to me, it could happen to anybody.”

The Office of National Statistics estimates there were around 713,000 male victims of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017, with around 4.3 per cent of men affected.

PCC Ron Hogg said: “I think it’s very important to support this particular campaign. We know domestic violence is primarily male on female but we know there are a significant minority of males who are victims of abuse.

“One in six men in relationships are likely to be victims of domestic abuse but it’s underreported.It’s not within the psyche of miners or steelworkers to admit domestic abuse.”

He added: “Please don’t suffer in silence. Report domestic abuse.”

Rachael Williamson, from domestic violence charity Harbour, said: “We don’t really get male victims coming forward, or if we do it’s a minimal number of cases.

“I think a lot of men don’t know about us or they don’t think it’s a service for them.

“Being believed is a big barrier for men. At Harbour every woman is believed, and so is every man.”