Men suffering from domestic abuse will be able to receive face-to-face support for the first time.

Brighton and Hove City Council has teamed up with specialist charities and police to offer the city’s first ever “care pathway” for men experiencing domestic violence or abuse has been unveiled.

The new scheme will mean male victims of domestic violence can get help and support directly from independent charity Victim Support rather than through national helplines.

The news comes as fresh figures from the Crown Prosecution Service show that the conviction rate for domestic violence against women and girls has dropped by 4% in the past year.

Sussex Police had 1158 convictions at a success rate of 74.9% in 2012/13 which dropped to 1151 convictions at a rate of 70.7% according to new figures released today.

Around one in five reports received locally are from men who have experienced domestic violence or abuse, according to the city’s 2013 Strategic Assessment with at least 140 known male domestic violence victims last year alone.

The new pathway is being delivered by RISE and Victim Support, which are working together with support from Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council with specialist support offered over the phone or at drop-in centres at Hove Town Hall, police stations or hospitals.

Council Leader Jason Kitcat said: "Domestic abuse destroys lives and that's why we're determined to prevent it.

“This new care pathway should make it easier for men experiencing domestic violence to seek help.”

The council’s violence against women and girls strategy commissioner James Rowlands said: “Domestic violence or abuse has a devastating impact on people’s lives.

“Men can be reluctant to seek help so we think this new care pathway, and having help and support which is available locally, is a major step forward.”

Kate Dale, head of client services at domestic violence charity RISE, said: “RISE is delighted to be a key partner in this new care pathway for male victims.

“This new service means we can now refer male survivors to Victim Support (for heterosexual men), or to our own specialist LGBT Service, run in partnership with the LGBT Switchboard.”

Users of the drop-in service launched at Hove Town Hall in January have praised the support they have received.

Mathew, not his real name, said: “I am still suffering from an abusive relationship which ended months ago.

“I came to the drop in surgery with little hope and left feeling stronger and with a clear idea about where to go for ongoing support.”