A £1.5million funding gap has emerged for domestic violence services in Lancashire - amid soaring referral rates.

Shortfalls of around £2million have been identified in the multi-agency budget for prevention and advice services across the county.

And while Coun Susie Charles, county council cabinet member for children’s services, and Coun Mike Calvert, cabinet member for community services, has approved funding of £500,000, for the next two years, other partners will need to find the remaining cash.

Financial cutbacks, particularly in East Lancs, have led to the abolition of a number of family intervention projects.

Helen Denton, the county council’s executive director of children and young people, said in a report: “There has been a significant rise in the number of referrals to the police and to the county council's Care Connect Service relating to incidents of domestic abuse in Lancashire.

“In the five months to August 2012, almost 5,500 children were referred to Care Connect because of domestic abuse incidents in the family.”

The county council has identified £250,000 from its reserves for early intervention services, and another £250,000 from its investment reserves.

Lancashire Community Safety Partnership is leading efforts among the NHS trusts, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police to generate the much-needed financial resources.

Grants for a number of existing services are also set to expire at the end of the current financial year, county councillors have been told.

Their estimates are that around £656,000 is required from the criminal justice system, including the likes of the CPS, police, courts service and probation.

Another £896,000 is being sought from NHS trusts and £100,000 from Lancashire’s 12 district councils.