The time has come for domestic violence victims to remove their scarves and make-up and reveal their bruises, Baroness Scotland said yesterday on a trip to Birmingham.
The Home Office minister said she feared many sufferers still believed if they admitted they were being abused they would bring shame on their communities.
She was speaking at the launch of a website created by Birmingham's Chinese community for domestic violence victims across the UK. www. stoplookgoevergreen.org.uk, which went live yesterday, gives sufferers advice, helplines and tips on how to escape abuse.
Baroness Scotland said: "This is one of the most terrible scourges of our society. And what makes it worse is that many believe family circumstances should not be broadcast.
"They suffer in silence believing that to speak out would be shameful. But none of us are going to be silent any longer. It is time for the scarves and make-up to come off and for us to shout about domestic violence and the effect it has on women, men and children. We have to remove this scourge from all our communities. Birmingham's Chinese community has set an excellent example with this website."
The World Health Organisation has found that one in four women suffer from domestic violence at some point in their lives and on average 120 women die from it every year.
It is the greatest cause of serious injury in women aged between 19 and 40 and is most likely to start during pregnancy.
The website's creator Susan Mo, who works for a women's support service in Edgbaston, Birmingham, said victims in the Chinese community were particularly reluctant to admit they were being abused.
Mrs Mo, who was herself a child victim of domestic violence, said: "It's in our culture to be a bit more shy and hold back.
"But we felt that something needed to be done to address this and not just for Chinese victims, but for every victim in the UK whether they are a man, woman or child."
A one-time domestic violence victim, who helped with the website, told the Baroness how helpful she would have found the site three years ago when she courageously left her partner.
The mother-of-one, who wanted to remain anonymous, escaped to a West Midlands women's refuge after seven years in a physically and mentally abusive relationship.
She said: "The bruises aren't the worst thing. The worst thing is the mental anguish, the not knowing when he'll strike again.
"I tried to keep the family together to act as if nothing was wrong when we saw friends and family. I wondered what I had done wrong and whether I should try acting differently.
"Then I tried to stay quiet. Then when I saw the effect it was having on my daughter I knew I had to leave.
"Domestic violence victims from ethnic minorities have to deal with immigration and language problems on top of everything else. I also felt pressure from the community to keep quiet.
"This is why this internet site is so important. It can be looked at privately and shows people they are not alone."
The website, which is in English and Chinese, was funded with a £20,000 Home Office grant and worked on by 40 women and children from Birmingham's Chinese community.
It also has links to domestic violence support services for Black and other ethnic minority communities.
* For more information or help on domestic violence call 0808 2000 247