Domestic violence
One in four women said they would not know how to help a victimEuropean Parliament/Flickr

One in three women in the UK have suffered domestic violence, a survey has found.

A YouGov poll of 2,244 women for ITV's Loose Women has revealed that 37% of women have experienced abuse behind closed doors. The survey was commissioned for the launch of the programme's Domestic Violence Campaign with the charity Refuge.

Although the findings suggest an increased awareness of the prevalence of the crime among women, domestic violence remains a hidden problem.

The poll found that 35% of women said they would not want anyone to know about the abuse. Of those who have experience violence and kept quiet, 43% did not think it was serious enough to get others involved.

Domestic violence was defined as an incident of threatening behaviour, physical or emotional abuse.

Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley, said: "We don't know the true extent of domestic violence because so many women don't disclose their experiences to anyone. It's a hidden problem.

"This survey shows that one woman in three have experienced domestic violence. This could indicate that more women are aware of the problem and are better able to recognise the signs of abuse.

"It is not surprising to me that this poll has shown that domestic violence affects huge numbers of women in this country."

The survey also revealed 14% believed their partner's behaviour was a normal part of being in a relationship and one fifth of the victims said they had experience violence at the hands of more than one partner.

Of all the women that participated in the survey, almost one in four said they would not know how to help a victim.

National domestic violence charity Women's Aid, who were uninvolved in the study, have previously warned that two women are killed by partners or ex-partners in England and Wales every week.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the organisation, told IBTimes UK that incidents of abuse are rarely a "one-off".

"Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour which often results in the woman having no personal freedom, and can end in the loss of her life."

"We must ensure that specialist services are funded to support women trying to escape, and that all professionals in contact with survivors have appropriate training to understand that how they respond to domestic violence can be the difference between life and death."