Family violence accounts for about 60 per cent of the work done by Whittlesea police, according to Inspector Paul Tysoe.
Inspector Tysoe said dealing with family violence was the “highest priority” for local police, with reported incidents soaring.
The Victorian Family Violence database, which was recently published by the Crime Statistics Agency, reveals that from July, 2011, to June, 2016, family violence incidents in the municipality soared by 84 per cent.
In 2011-13, there were 1557 incidents reported to police, rising to 2867 in 2015-16.
In Hume, family violence incidents increased by 40 per cent, from 2196 in 2011-12 to 3096 in 2015-16.
Both municipalities have among the highest rates of family violence in Victoria.
Inspector Tysoe said the rise in reported incidents in Whittlesea was a result of a change in how police approached family violence.
He said police had shifted their focus from targeting offenders to supporting and helping victims, with a support worker from Berry Street now forming part of Whittlesea’s family violence unit.
The unit has doubled in size since 2011 and now includes two sergeants and 10 constables/senior constables. There are plans to add a sergeant and three more constables to the unit soon.
“We strongly believe that everybody has the right to feel safe in their own home,” Inspector Tysoe said.
“I think the message is getting out there that people can come to us and we are more than happy to assist.”
Inspector Tysoe said Whittlesea’s high family violence rate could be attributed to the high number of households experiencing financial stress, with cultural issues also a factor.
He said police worked with an extensive network, including religious groups and community elders, to help victims.
The database, which features data from police, courts, Victorian Legal Aid and government departments, also reveals that breaches of court orders and assault-related offences were involved in the majority of family violence offences in Whittlesea and Hume.
The database also details how often safety notices and intervention orders are sought.
In Whittlesea, intervention orders were sought 417 times in 2015-16, while safety notices were issued on 440 occasions.
During the same period, 520 intervention orders were sought in Hume and 560 safety notices were issued.