Family violence reports in Whittlesea have soared by more than 35 per cent in the past five years, new data reveals.
The Crime Statistics Agency’s family violence database reveals that in 2017-18 there were 3190 reports of family violence incidents made to Whittlesea police – up 36 per cent from 2013-14 when there were 2349 reports.
In Hume, there were 3376 reports in 2017-18, up from 2906 in 2013-14.
The two municipalities were in the top three for family violence reports across the state. Casey recorded the highest number of reports (4378).
Whittlesea Police Inspector Andrew Falconer said Whittlesea’s high rate of family violence meant the municipality’s family violence unit was staffed at double the levels of neighbouring areas.
He said the rise in reports since 2013-14 could be attributed to increased education in the community about family violence.
“The family violence unit has been very pro-active in providing education to the wider community about the issues and to encourage reporting,” Inspector Falconer said.
“We know that there are many barriers to people coming forward, and we have been at community events and forums to help break down these barriers.
“The aim of our family violence unit has been to reduce recidivism and repeat victimisation. They have been very successful in stopping any repeat serious incidents to victims.”
Inspector Falconer said family violence was a complex social issue with several contributing factors.
“Whittlesea police service area has had a very large population growth with many young families … often on lower incomes,” he said. “They often carry higher levels of debt with home loans. We have significant gambling losses incurred. The pressure on these families can often lead to alcohol and drug abuse.
“This only causes a downward spiral, which – combined with culture, family background and individual temperament – can lead to family violence.”