Brimbank has seen a sharp decline in the number of family violence cases reported to police, according to new data.

The Victorian Crime Statistics Agency released its 2016-17 Victorian Family Violence Database last week, which showed 481 less family violence case were recorded by Brimbank police between July 2016 and June 2017 compared to the previous 12 months.

While 2246 family violence cases were recorded in Brimbank in the 2016-17 year, making it the ninth worst municipality in the state, the 17.6 per cent drop was one of the biggest reductions statewide, and compared favourably with the overall reduction of 3.3 per cent.

Nearby councils also recorded reductions, including Maribyrnong (-15.7 per cent), Moonee Valley (-3.9) and Melton (-0.3).

Crime Statistics Agency chief statistician Fiona Dowsley said changes to reporting made it difficult to establish a strong trend in reporting, but that would change in time.

“In the last 12 months there has been a decline in family incidents recorded by Victoria Police and new applications finalised in the Magistrates’ and Children’s Court,” Ms Dowsley said.

“However, increasing service to family violence clients was reported by Victoria Legal Aid.

“Changes in recording and reporting practices across the health and services sector means we do not see a definitive trend across all agencies. Over time, however, system reforms are anticipated to provide more robust family violence data in Victoria.”

December and January were the worst months for family violence across the state, with more than 14,000 incidents reported, while 74.7 per cent (57,171) of the 76,503 affected family members were female.

Women aged between 20 and 44 years made up 61.7 per cent of affected family members.