Fewer domestic abuse offences were recorded by police in Surrey last year, new figures show, bucking a national trend.

The number of abuse crimes logged by forces across England and Wales has topped 900,000, after rising for the sixth successive year.

Anti-domestic violence charity Refuge said women and girls face an "epidemic of violence" and called on the Government to prioritise bringing perpetrators to justice and protecting victims.

But Office for National Statistics figures show 8,952 domestic abuse-related crimes were recorded by Surrey Police in the year to March – down from 9,361 the year before.

It meant there were 7.4 domestic abuse offences per 1,000 people in the area last year.

The number of domestic abuse-related violent crimes also fell in the last year, from 7,631 to 7,227.

Nationally, 910,000 domestic abuse offences were recorded in the year to March – 7.7% more than the year before – and the highest since records began in 2015-16.

Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said the figures show "we are still facing an epidemic of violence against women and girls which shows no sign of stopping".

Ms Davison said: "Survivors and women experiencing abuse cannot wait for change."

Despite the rise in offences, the number of arrests and crimes referred to the Crown Prosecution Service has fallen across the country.

Across the 41 police forces that supplied sufficient data, the arrest rate per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes fell from 32.6 in 2020-21 to 31.3 last year.

Meanwhile, the number of referrals of domestic abuse suspects also fell, from 77,812 to 67,063.

"This is simply not good enough when women’s lives are at risk," Ms Davison added.

"The figures restate the importance of Refuge’s calls for improved mandatory training for all criminal justice professionals so they recognise the seriousness of domestic abuse, and can respond in an appropriate, trauma-informed way.

"Now is the time to prioritise bringing perpetrators to justice."

However, the charge rate increased across the country for the first time in four years, with 73% of cases considered by the CPS leading to a charge in 2021-22.

In Surrey, 557 cases led to 408 charges, meaning the charge rate rose from 70% in 2020-21 to 73% last year.

The Home Office said domestic abuse is "a devastating crime that ruins lives" and that it is fully supporting victims, survivors and their families.

A spokesperson said more than £230 million is being invested to tackle rising domestic abuse offences, with the Domestic Abuse Act further supporting victims.

Of the funding, £3.3 million has been committed to training first responders to treat every case sensitively.