Despite statistical improvements, Ballarat police are convinced family violence is under-reported and remains a major problem for the region.
Victoria Police's next objective is working to further build trust and increase community confidence in reporting family violence to police.
Ballarat Superintendent Jenny Wilson told The Courier she believed family violence remained under-reported in the region, particularly in rural areas and small towns.
"We want people to come forward, whether that is to the police, or through a doctor or a health representative," she said.
This focus comes as Crime Statistics Agency data released on Wednesday revealed the number of family violence incidents reported to police in Ballarat has decreased by almost 10 per cent.
While there is a drop, the statistics mean there are still 1781 women who called the police because they felt unsafe.Libby Jewson, Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee
Data recorded up until the end of the 2018/19 year showed the number of incidents in Ballarat council area had dropped to 1781 from 1913 incidents reported to police in the previous year.
READ MORE: Family violence reports dip in Ballarat
Libby Jewson, WRISC Family Violence Support Executive Officer and chair of the Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee, said this data did not reflect all women's experiences of family violence because many victims did not make reports to police.
"Many of our clients have not had any police intervention," she said.
"That can be for many reasons, often because of safety, their fear and threats made against them by the perpetrator.
"While there is a drop, the statistics mean there are still 1781 women who called the police because they felt unsafe."
The new data also shows 388 assaults and 231 breaches of intervention orders were reported in Ballarat in the 2018/19 year.
Ms Jewson said collaborative work with police, service providers and the court system in the Central Highlands region was making a meaningful difference to improve responses to family violence.
"Police and the courts have an improved understanding of family violence," she said.
"This is especially relevant in Ballarat with the new specialist family violence court and renovations that make it easier for women to be in court."
Six new family violence specialist police officers were deployed to Ballarat in April this year who have specialised training in responding to and investigating family violence.
Superintendent Wilson said this had helped police improve their response, particularly to serious family violence matters and repeat incidents.
"We really work with our stakeholder partners to have a combined approach to help those families as best we can," she said.
"Sometimes that is about holding people to account for crimes, but it is also about making sure there are proper support networks for people to change that cycle of violence and help them move on with their lives.
"Our service has vastly improved and it will continue to build the professionalism in this area."
Superintendent Wilson said she wanted the community to have confidence to come forward to police, not just victims, but others in the community who may witness or be aware of family violence.
"If you see people being hurt of harmed in the community it is something we want to know about so we know where to put our resources," she said.
Ms Jewson said everyone had a role to play in reducing violence in the Central Highlands.
"Hopefully with everyone working together we can continue to make a meaningful difference," she said.
"Violence is never okay."
Family violence is in the spotlight around the world for the United Nation's 16 days of activism against gender based violence that began on November 25.
Support is available on 1800RESPECT, 1800 737 732.
Confidential and anonymous reports can be made to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or you can call the Ballarat Police Station on 5336 6000.
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