British Prime Minister Theresa May has launched a major consultation to oversee a new law to address domestic violence and the way victims are treated by police.

May has said that these issues were a "key priority" for the government. The PM has pledged that "no stone will be left unturned in delivering a system that increases convictions and works better for victims".

She added: "I believe that the plans I have announced today have the potential to completely transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse.

"There are thousands of people who are suffering at the hands of abusers, often isolated and unaware of the options and support available to them to end it. Given the central importance of victim evidence to support prosecutions in this area, raising public awareness – as well as consolidating the law – will prove crucial."

The proposed Domestic Violence and Abuse Act aims to resolve inconsistencies in the use of existing offences. Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said domestic abuse was often underreported "and therefore any new initiative which encourages victims to come forward is to be applauded".

A study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that women were more likely to report having experienced domestic abuse than men. Domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police accounted for approximately 1-in-10 of all crimes.

The ONS estimates there were will be 1.8 million adults aged 16-59 who report being a victim of domestic abuse, in the year ending March 2016.

Baroness Helen Newlove, Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales welcomed the consultation but cautioned any new legislation would take at least 18 months to come into force.

"I have met victims who have been dangled out their front window to scare them, who have been thrown into baths to be woken up from being beaten up," she told the BBC: "These are horrendous issues. I want to make sure there's more meat on the bone [of legislation] and that victims do feel they have the confidence to come forward."

A review by Newlove suggested the need for a trained professional, with sufficient knowledge of the criminal justice system, to listen to victims' needs.

Offering victims the opportunity to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) was also mooted. She told ITV Granada Reports: "The offer should be made to all victims in order to begin to address the imbalance of justice."

Direct action group Sisters Uncut say that Theresa May's £20m ($24.8m) funding for domestic violence refuges is a short term solution.

"After six years of Tory cuts, the outlook for non-binary people and women trying to escape domestic violence is increasingly bleak, with survivors being trapped in violent homes by Tory policies," a spokesperson said. "Support services have been decimated by austerity, and this comparatively tiny pot of money will not restore them."

When May's consultation was announced, The Secret Barrister, an award-winning anonymous commentator on the British legal system, tweeted that reversing funding cuts to the legal aid system and courts would benefit victims of domestic violence more than new laws.