THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a landmark partnership to tackle domestic violence and abuse in the armed forces.

The MoD has awarded children’s charity Spurgeons £268,000 to establish and run the first-ever therapeutic programme in Wiltshire for armed forces families affected by the issue.

Through working with victims and perpetrators, the Spurgeons’ Recovering Together project aims to reduce instances of abuse and to create a safe environment for children to grow up in.

Spurgeons’ children’s services manager Lucy Thorne said: “Through our work on the frontline we know too many children are experiencing violent and unhappy homes.

"The impact domestic violence and abuse has on children can be devastating.

“It is possible that the level of domestic violence and abuse among military personnel is the same as the general population, however there is some evidence to suggest that military families experience more serious and severe violence.”

The project will work with Splitz support service and the Army Welfare Service to provide a safe environment to discuss domestic abuse in private and in confidence.

It will also address a number of the stresses linked to abuse such as fear of speaking out, damage done to affected children and the individual stresses for service families.

A spokesman for the Army Welfare Service said: “The Personal Support Pillar of the Army Welfare Service in Tidworth is delighted to be involved in the Recovering Together Project.

"We have long enjoyed an excellent working relationship with both Splitz and Spurgeons and are very excited to have this opportunity to work together on an initiative that will benefit service personnel and their families.”

The project is funded by the Covenant Fund as part of the Armed Forces Covenant.

It is expected to save the public purse more than £161,000 throughout the two-year pilot period.

According to the charity, of the 1,500 armed forces families it works with, 50 per cent have experienced some form of domestic violence and abuse.

The charity also reports that, on average, it takes 35 incidents of domestic violence to occur before a victim comes forward to report to the police what has happened.