MERSEYSIDE’s Police Commissioner has warned that sustained budget cuts could leave victims of domestic abuse vulnerable in the future.

Jane Kennedy made the warning as she welcomed an independent report into Merseyside Police’s approach to tackling domestic abuse.

The review highlighted that tackling violence in the home is a priority for both the commissioner and the local force - and it praised staff who work with victims for their “high level of commitment and awareness.”

There was also recognition of the force’s “strong focus on carrying out high quality investigations” leading to a significant increase in successful prosecutions.

Ms Kennedy said she will continue to work closely with the Chief Constable to improve support and service provided to victims.

But she warned such services will be damaged if austerity measures imposed by the Government continue as anticipated.

She said: “Tackling domestic abuse requires a partnership approach.

“We all need to work together to support extremely vulnerable people. But we are already seeing the hugely damaging impact government cuts are having on some of our community safety partners.

“If these funding cuts continue as predicted, it will have a detrimental impact on the support that can be provided to some very vulnerable people.”

Domestic abuse accounts for 5% of all calls to Merseyside Police, as well as 5% of all recorded crime.

Merseyside recorded 4,817 domestic abuse related crimes from August 2012 to 2013, of which 47% resulted in conviction.

Ms Kennedy added: “Tackling this issue is a priority for me.

“I want every victim to know they will be listened to, believed and understood and that Merseyside Police will do everything possible to keep them safe.

"Nobody should suffer in silence.”