THE number of young people arrested on suspicion of abusing a family member or partner in Blackburn has risen 30 per cent in just two years.

But nearly 50 per cent of those suspected of committing domestic abuse last year were released without charge, new figures have revealed.

The majority of offenders in the town since 2010 are still adult males, but over the last couple of years the number of adults arrested has dropped three per cent.

But domestic violence arrests involving under-20s has rocketed.

In 2010, 57 young people – ten females and 47 males – were held by police probing domestic violence cases. Last year the figure was 81 – seven females and 74 males.

Vivien Blackledge of Blackburn and Darwen Women’s Aid said there were many reasons behind the increase.

She said: “Social measures and certainly the austerity measures that are about have had some impact.

“It’s very difficult for young people to get into employment, and with social media there’s access to cyber bullying.

“Abusers can control victims and track people using technology. There’s more accessibility for people to control others and young people are more familiar.”

The Home Office last week launched a campaign it hopes will prevent teenagers from becoming domestic violence victims.

Vivien hopes it will raise awareness, something she strives to do regularly.

“We’ve tried to raise awareness in schools. We are distributing posters across various agencies. One is targeting perpetrators and one is targeted at victims.

“When started our strategy in 2007, the amount of time somebody in Blackburn and Darwen spent in abuse was five years.

“This is still the national average, but we have it down to two, and hope to bring it down to one.”