A new campaign is urging gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence to report it to the police.

‘Unzip the Silence’ is to be launched at Birmingham Pride this weekend and has been organised by Pink Shield, a forum aimed to promote understanding and trust between the city’s gay community and West Midlands Police.

It is estimated that one in four gays and lesbians suffer from domestic violence at some point in their lives and a similar proportion say they expect to be treated less well by a police officer than other victims of crime.

The campaign posters will be unveiled at Birmingham Pride on Sunday and have been designed to raise awareness of the different forms domestic violence can take.

Pink Shield chair Angela Gilraine said the organisation was making “tremendous steps” in working with West Midlands Police in changing attitudes to same-sex domestic violence.

She added: “People who are vulnerable to domestic abuse from partners or from homophobic family members are often confused about their situation. They may see their experience as being unique to their situation and do not understand that violence and abuse is just as unacceptable in same-sex relationships as it is anywhere else in our society.”

Jean McEntire, member of West Midlands Police Authority said: “The Authority takes these issues very seriously, which is why we were keen to support this campaign through our Community Initiatives Fund.

“A recent survey indicated that a police force’s reputation, not just in tackling homophobic hate crime but also as a gay-friendly employer has a positive impact on whether gay or lesbian people would report homophobic hate incidents to the police.

“I believe that the force’s 2009 award of 28th place in Stonewall’s top 100 employers demonstrates that people can have faith in West Midlands Police Force’s and Authority’s positive attitudes to diversity.”

The ‘Unzip the Silence’ campaign has also been sponsored by The British Transport Police, and supported by Birmingham City Council and Eighty3 Creative.