A TEENAGER who was the driving force behind a campaign aimed at encouraging more male victims of domestic abuse to come forward has been given a prestigious awarded.

Libby Wright, 18, instigated the No Less of Man campaign while serving as Durham Police’s young police and crime commissioner.

She teamed up with Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg, the High Sheriff Dr Stephen Cronin, senior figures from local government, the NHS, the Harbour support service and police to champion the rights of male victims.

Libby, who is doing A-levels at Durham Sixth Form, was yesterday awarded a High Commendation in the National Crimebeat awards.

Making the presentation, Dr Cronin praised her “passion, commitment and eloquence”.

The event was also attended by representatives of CHC Highways, a company which has used Libby’s campaign to encourage male victims in their workforce to seek support, if needed.

Libby said: “It was very much a team effort and I am glad we have been given this recognition, so that more people can come forward and have confidence to talk about what has happened to them.”

She came up with the idea in criminology class, when students were asked to look at ways of starting their own campaign on an issue that was not widely reported.

Libby said: “I realised there are a massive amount of men affected by this. I saw a lot of campaigns were centred on men being the aggressors and woman being the victims of domestic abuse.

“Men who see this may themselves be suffering as victims of domestic abuse and may feel if they do come forward there’s no support.

“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.”

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. The abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional.