ARARAT Rural City now has one of the highest rates of family violence incidents in western Victoria following a 12 per cent rise in the 12 months to July.
Ararat police have now seen 2499 family violence incidents per 100,000 people, the fourth highest rate in western Victoria behind Mildura on 3212, Swan Hill on 2786 and Central Goldfields on 2623.
Western Victoria’s average family violence rate was 1620 incidents per 100,000 people, which saw a 1.6 per cent decline in the 12 months to July.
Pyrenees Shire saw a 22.8 per cent increase in the rate of family violence incidents but remained below the region’s average at 1521 incidents per 100,000.
Northern Grampians Shire and Stawell saw a 14.9 per cent decrease to 1816 incidents per 100,000 people, with Horsham Rural City seeing a 14 per cent decrease to rate just below that of Ararat.
The Victorian Crime Statistics Agency figures define a family incident is an incident attended by Victoria Police where a Victoria Police Risk Assessment and Risk Management Report (also known as an L17 form) was completed and recorded on the police LEAP computer system.
In terms of the raw number of incidents, police in Ararat Rural City recorded 272 incidents in the 12 months to July, a 10.6 per cent increase.
Northern Grampians Shire saw a 15.9 per cent decrease to 206 incidents while Pyrenees Shire saw a 22.1 per cent increase to 105 incidents, the first triple-figure result in at least five years.
Horsham saw a 13.2 per cent decline in incidents to 494, the first time the municipality had seen its incidents drop below 500 in three years.
Southern Grampians Shire saw a 11.4 per cent drop in the number of incidents to 334.
Ararat could be waiting until 2021 to get access to the state government’s new family violence safety hubs.
The 2016-17 Victorian budget committed $448 million to building the new hubs, designed to assist people who had experienced family violence, but Central Highlands and Western District were not ‘launch regions’.