Police in London take part in dawn raids across the city as part of Operation Athena which targets domestic violence and hate crime, arresting 264 people.

Met carries out dawn raids in domestic violence crackdown (Getty)

Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, in charge of territorial policing said: "The scale of the violence and abuse caused by those in domestic relationships is shocking. About one third of all women will suffer some form of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their partners.

"Suffering behind closed doors should not and cannot be ignored. We all have a responsibility to put a stop to domestic violence."

The force says the current operation is timed to coincide with the international day for the elimination of violence against women. It said some of the offences include assault, harassment, criminal damage, rape, threats to kill and possession of class A and B drugs.

The Met told Channel 4 News that at this stage it is unclear how many of those arrested will be charged with offences related to domestic violence.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, 75 per cent of domestic violence incidents are repeat offences, while other research has found that women experience 35 incidences of domestic violence before reporting an incident to the police.

Channel 4 News has found that one in five domestic violence centres has cut services in the last year due to funding problems, even though many refuges having to turn away women because they are full.

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