West Yorkshire police are launching a campaign to encourage victims of same-sex domestic violence to come forward.

The force says that there have been more than 400 reported incidents of same-sex domestic violence in West Yorkshire in the last year, including three murders.

In contrast, despite the much higher rates of domestic violence in heterosexual relationships, only two women have been killed by their male partners in the region in the last year.

In the three cases of killings by gay partners or ex-partners, none of the victims had reported domestic violence to police, leading to concerns that the issue is being severely under-reported.

To tackle the issue, West Yorkshire police are working with Stonewall, the Gay Police Association, LGBT domestic violence charity Broken Rainbow UK and sexual health project Mesmac.

A poster campaign called ‘Same Sex Domestic Violence, We Wont Turn Our Back’ has been designed and uses images of a man and a woman with injuries and footprints on their backs.

Studies suggest that many victims of domestic violence, especially men, are too embarrassed to contact police about being abused.

Other reasons for not reporting domestic violence are a fear of not being believed and a belief that police will not take reports seriously.

Detective Inspector Granville Ward said: “We do believe that same sex domestic violence is under reported which is real concern to us.

“It is important that victims know where to go for help or who they can contact for advice and that positive action is taken against offenders.

“We are aware that amongst victims of domestic violence there is a fear of not being believed or that there will be a dismissive or homophobic response from police. I want to reassure everyone that this is not the case.

“Domestic violence is serious and we do not want people suffering in silence.”

PC Matthew Humphrys, chair of the Gay Police Association said: “Domestic violence is a hidden violence that affects people deeply and its affects can last long after the end of a relationship.

“It is important for anyone suffering such violence, which can be mental, physical, emotional or financial to feel confident that the police can and will help them.”