ONLINE threats against women have tripled in one year according to new figures.

Statistics revealed in a Freedom of Information request by Amnesty International showed that Cheshire Police have received 1,134 reports of threats of violence towards women over the internet since 2016.

In 2016/17, the force received 284 complaints of this nature.

But in 2017/18, the figure had more than tripled - with 850 women reporting that they had been threatened online.

Detective chief superintendent Nigel Wenham said: "Any form of abuse or threats of violence, whether face-to-face or online, is totally unacceptable and can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the recipient.

"While social media is an important and valuable tool for people to express their opinions and positively engage with others, there is also a sinister aspect to how these digital platforms are used.

"Sadly, a number of people feel that they can use social media platforms as an excuse to abuse others - to cause them harm and say and do what they want, believing their will not be any consequences.

"This is totally unacceptable, noone has the right to believe that they can hide behind a computer screen or mobile phone and threaten, abuse or cause harm to others.

"I would like to reassure all victims that we take any reports extremely seriously and each case is assessed on its own merits, and action taken where appropriate.

"I urge anyone who has experienced online abuse or threats of violence to please report it."

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said that women routinely receive death and rape threats through social media.

She added: "These police figures make it patently clear that social media can be an incredibly toxic and dangerous place for women.

"Thousands of women are feeling so threatened by online violence and abuse that they're having to ask the police for help, and these figures are likely to just scratch the surface of what is a much larger problem.

"Amnesty's previous research has shown that for far too long social media companies like Twitter have been a space where women can too easily be confronted with death or rape threats, and where their genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations are under attack.

"Recently, we’ve seen a great wave of solidarity and activism from women around the world, and Twitter has an important role in movements like #MeToo.

"But the online space must be made a safer place where women can express themselves freely without fear of violence."