Two women are killed every week by their partners or former partners, while across Thames Valley, there were 32,715 incidents of domestic violence in 2011/12.
And according to city-based women’s refuge, MK-Act, domestic abuse in Milton Keynes is widespread.
That is why this newspaper has joined forces with MK-Act, Thames Valley Police, MK Equality Council and Milton Keynes College to launch the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign.
The campaign, spearheaded by city MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual harassment in the city.
The pair will be meeting with community group leaders to discuss the issues, before the campaign culminates on November 29 with the signing of an anti-domestic violence charter, outlining what relevant parties will do to combat domestic violence and sexual harassment.
The launch of ‘Let’s Talk’ co-incides with International Women’s Day on Friday, and Mr Lancaster said no-one should have to put up with domestic violence or sexual harrassment.
A spokesman for MK-Act said: “Domestic abuse occurs across all communities, irrespective of poverty and deprivation, or a people’s education, sexuality, ethnicity or ability.
“Originating from a sense of entitlement and rooted in patriarchal traditions, the vast majority of domestic abuse is experienced by women.
“If not prevented, domestic abuse often escalates in intensity and severity, and can lead to the victim’s death.”
Domestic abuse can also cause significant health problems, ranging from physical injury or self-harm to depression and anxiety. Female victims are 15 times more likely to misuse alcohol and nine times more likely to misuse drugs. Other consequences include poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
Mr Stewart said: “ We want to get the message out there that help is available and that there is a high price our society pays for this.”
And MK College principal, Dr Julie Mills said: “Preventing violence against women and girls from happening in the first place starts with challenging the attitudes and behaviours which foster it.”