ALMOST a quarter of domestic violence cases reported in Greater Manchester last year failed to reach court due to victims withdrawing their support for a prosecution, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.

The figures, obtained from 36 police forces by law firm Simpson Millar, also show that nearly a third of cases in the region involving domestic abuse were dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Of 19,132 domestic violence crimes reported last year 4,592 cases were withdrawn as the victim was unwilling to press charges.

And a further 5,865 potential prosecutions were discontinued due to problems with gathering evidence.

The research brings to light how often women, particularly, find themselves unable to provide evidence, or support a charge, due to fears for their personal safety and that of their children.

Emma Pearmaine, director of family services at Simpson Millar, said: “We cannot ignore the fact that a significant number of domestic violence crimes do not result in a charge; often due to a lack of evidence or a lack of support from the victim who may feel unable to provide this kind of support.

She continued: “Victims, and women especially, are often either unable to provide evidence about their abuse, or decide to withdraw what evidence they have presented, because they feel coming forward will put themselves, their children and family members at significant risk of serious harm.”

Ms Pearmaine also called for more to be done to address the issue.

“More resources are needed to identify alternative avenues of collecting evidence and building a case against abusers without putting the victim at risk,” she added.

“This is a challenge, I know, but one which must be addressed in the face of these latest figures.”

Nationally, one third of victims refuse to press charges, while a lack of evidence resulted in more than 100,000 cases being dropped.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said: “We know that not all survivors of domestic abuse want a criminal justice outcome. However, what these figures show is that, for those who do, there is still a very real culture of victim-blaming and fear that stops survivors from accessing justice.

“With two women a week on average being killed by a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales, it is vital that we take these findings seriously.”