A NEW campaign to crack down on domestic violence is being launched by Lancashire police.

The Women Influencing Safer Environments initiative (WISE) will ask women across the county to detail their experiences of domestic violence so the police can form strategies to deal with it over the next few years.

Questionnaires are to be sent to women's organisations to try to establish how much domestic violence is occurring and whether it is being under-reported to police.

A copy of the questionnaire will also be posted on the organisation's website.

The WISE group is a countywide organisation made up of representatives from the police, health service, social services, probation service, county council and Racial Equality Council as well as Victim Support and members of the business community.

The group has been involved in a number of schemes, including publishing safety advice leaflets and organising a recent national conference on women's safety, attended by Lancashire Chief Constable Pauline Clare.

The new domestic violence initiative is being run by Rosalind McEntee, of Lancashire Police's Family Protection Syndicate, based at the Major Crime Unit in Hutton.

She said: "We have undertaken this project to promote women's safety that involves obtaining the views of women on community safety issues in Lancashire.

"The project will address personal safety both within and outside the home, as well as community safety.

"The questionnaire also has a section on crime, including domestic violence asking about the occurrence of domestic violence and whether it is reported to police."

From April 1999 to March 2000 there were 16,683 incidents of domestic violence in Lancashire.

This compares to 16, 909 in the same period from 2000-2001.

Police believe the numbers reported to them may be only a fraction of the true total.