THE NUMBER of domestic violence incidents reported to Horsham police is dropping.
A Horsham police campaign that started two years ago encouraged the community to report domestic violence and for officers to log every report.
The campaign caused Horsham’s family incident reports to balloon from 1127.6 per 100,000 people in 2010-11 to 1908.9 in 2011-12.
It was the fourth highest rate in the state, topping Ballarat and Bendigo.
But the number of reports dropped to 1739 per 100,000 people last financial year.
Inspector Trevor Ashton said the statistics showed the campaign was working.
He said greater awareness of domestic violence helped police to combat the issue.
“When I first arrived in Horsham nearly three years ago, we did not have a true understanding of what was happening with domestic violence in our communities,” he said.
“Now that we have a true picture of what is happening, we are working with our stakeholders and have identified families in need of help.
“We saw a statistical increase in domestic violence and non-family domestic violence because the message went out that Horsham police wanted to know about it and our members knew they needed to take responsibility and report it.
“It has been nearly two years and there was that expected increase, but now we are seeing a decrease.”
Inspector Ashton said Victoria Police senior management had quizzed Horsham police on the dramatic jump between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
“Family violence is a statewide issue, so we focus hard on it,” he said.
“When we look at crime, the causal factors behind that can be alcohol, drugs, mental health and stress-related issues in the family environment.
“When we know what is happening, we can intervene and help those who need it.”
Horsham councillor Pam Clarke congratulated Horsham police on their work.
“It is really important that we have a clear picture of what goes on in this community – not a half picture, a full picture,” she said.
“Statistics do not often tell the truth so it is really courageous of our station to record every incident of domestic violence and say ‘our figures are above everywhere else’.
“It is a positive statement to say ‘this is the real picture and now we need to do something about it’ – that is what they are doing.”