FAMILY violence reports have sky-rocketed by 70 per cent in Ballarat, according to the latest Victoria Police crime statistics.
However, police say the surge in reporting’s can be viewed as a positive, as people are becoming more willing to report incidents to police and not ignore the issue.
According to police data released yesterday for the period between October 2011 and September 2012, overall crime in Ballarat increased by three per cent.
Family violence by far saw the biggest increase, with 541 reports compared to 377 for the year prior.
There was also a 20 per cent increase in assaults, while drug offences and theft from motor vehicles were notable reductions.
White Ribbon Day chairman and Ballarat Police Acting Senior Sergeant Joe Cahir said he did not believe the problem of family violence had gotten any worse over the last 20 years – people were just more willing to talk about it.
“We think people are more happy with the way police are handling family violence reports these days,” he said.
“Nowadays, more people are happy to report it and don’t feel as though they are going to get blamed as a victim.
“We do see it as a positive that more people are reporting it and letting police investigate it.”
For Ballarat police, assaults in general continue to remain a high priority, with the statistics showing there were almost 300 more reports for the time period, increased from 1045 to 1348.
Inspector Bruce Thomas said family violence and assault would remain a “major priority” for police in Ballarat and that the overall rise in the crime rate was a genuine concern.
“It’s not acceptable to the community of Victoria Police,” Inspector Thomas said.
“Ballarat police station now has one sergeant and six police dedicated full time to the Family Violence Unit.
“The unit are concentrating on recidivist offenders and repeat victims, which as research shows, contribute a great deal to the overall figures.”
Two fatalities were recorded on Ballarat’s roads, a huge decrease compared to 14 from the previous year.
To view the latest crime statistics, visit www.vicpolicenews.com.au/myplace