A PLAN has been drawn up to tackle domestic abuse in the borough after shocking new figures revealed there were 3,980 incidents reported in the past year.

Research commissioned by Bury Council's domestic violence and abuse steering group has revealed there were an average of more than 10 incidents per day in the 12 months up to April 2015.

And police chiefs believe the "real" figure could be 6,200 due to significant under-reporting.

Town hall chiefs have now teamed up with police and housing officials to publish a hard-hitting strategy that will help victims and get tough on offenders, and aimed at drastically reducing the number of incidents by 2018.

The research also showed that 80 per cent of the reports involved victims who had suffered abuse within the previous 12 months.

A Bury Council dossier on the research said around 400 victims were considered 'high risk' at any one time and it cost various authorities £20,000 to deal with every high-risk case, amounting to £8 million in total.

Local authority chiefs are now seeking to spend that money on "breaking the cycle" of violence rather than on crisis intervention.

Since June this year, 175 staff have been trained specifically in domestic violence intervention to "increase confidence in dealing with and supporting all victims," the report said.

The council worked with groups such as Victim Support and the Women’s Housing Action Group to form the strategy.

From now, incidents will be recorded in greater detail so data can be analysed effectively and extra care will be taken to ensure victims get access to services such as housing and social groups.

Staff from various organisations will keep in closer contact with victims and will increase their focus on children.

The report said: "More work needs to be done to engage the families of victims affected by domestic violence and abuse.

"The aim is to increase resilience and reduce the longer-term damage domestic abuse can have on children.

"This includes the need to engage with perpetrators to challenge and change behaviours."

A project called Operation Strive, is already underway to achieve these goals. Police and social services staff speak to first-time victims of domestic abuse and ensure they get access to a wide range of services.

Operation Strive has been so successful during a pilot project in Bury, it is being rolled out across Greater Manchester.

Bury Council leader, Cllr Mike Connolly said: "Building on work that has already been undertaken in Bury, this strategy sets out a robust framework for real change.

"We believe it captures the elements necessary to successfully challenge abuse and help our residents lead safe, happy and healthy lives."

Bury Council's community safety representative, Cllr Tamoor Tariq said: "Domestic violence is a national scandal.

"Living with violence as a victim or as a family member makes an everlasting impression.

"Repeat victims pay an even heavier price in terms of their health and well being, their sense of self worth and the relationships with others."

He added: "Only responding to problems when they are serious enough to warrant criminal investigation is not acceptable to us in Bury.

"With this in mind we intend to improve prevention and early intervention, change behaviours and attitudes, create strong leadership and management and reduce repeat victimisation.

"We need to more to help low-risk victims too as the evidence suggests that this category of victim is more likely to become homicide victims than those in the high-risk category.

"We also need to help male victims and victims in same-sex relationships."

Bury's Chief Superintendent Chris Sykes added: "Achieving these objectives will be challenging. It will require work across agencies to identify people at risk at a much earlier stage.

"Raising awareness and improving local intelligence is essential to improving prevention and understanding what works, while ensuring perpetrators are held to account."

Six Town Housing’s neighbours director John Merrick said: "The council's plan will help reduce instances of domestic abuse across the borough.

"We train frontline staff at regular intervals to identify potential signs of abuse, assess risk and know how to access help and support, so that we can protect tenants and engage with communities to raise awareness and will continue to work closely with the council with this."