Two Wimmera postcodes are in the top 10 in Victoria for rates of family violence-related serious assaults.
Crime Statistics Agency Victoria data for the past 10 years shows there have been 82 such assaults reported to police across this year in locations with the postcode 3400, which encompasses the Horsham, Wartook, Wonwondah and Brimpaen areas.
This equates to a rate of 561.95 assaults per 100,000 residents, which is the third-highest in the state.
It also marks an increase from the 60 assaults recorded last year.
Meanwhile, Dimboola was seventh in the state for family violence-related serious assaults, with a rate of 431.03 offences in 2018. There were eight offences in the year to July.
However Victoria Police Wimmera Superintendent Paul Margetts said police had seen a drop in this type of crime in the past five months, as well as a reduction in the rates of perpetrators re-offending.
“At the same time, we have been seeing a slight increase in non-family-violence related assaults,” he said.
“And within that particular crime category, the other thing we are observing is there is some sort of pre-existing relationship between the offender and the victim, such as both parties previously working together or going to school together.”
Mr Margetts said non-family violence-related assault was a focus for police.
The data also shows a general increase in the number of incidents reported to police across all family violence categories, and across most Wimmera postcodes, in the past five years.
Mr Margetts said this reflected more people affected by family violence reporting it to police, rather than more crimes being committed.
“Since we’ve had the dedicated family violence investigators in place, we’ve seen an increase in reporting, which we believe comes from an increase in confidence in the capability of police resources to be able to deal with those reports,” he said.
“I think that’s also playing a part in the recent decrease in the number of assaults, because we’re able to effectively work with perpetrators of family violence to ultimately change their behaviour.”
Police established a specialist family violence unit in the Wimmera in 2014.
In January this year, they sought permission to establish offices for some of its personnel in the state government offices in Horsham.