By Shelby Brooks and Danielle Kutchel
Family violence incidents have increased by almost nine per cent in the last year in the City of Casey, according to new statistics.
The Crime Statistics Agency has released its latest round of stats on the state of crime in Victoria, to the year ending June 2021.
The agency reported total family incidents rose to 5487 for the year ending in June, up 434 incidents from the same time in 2020.
This is the highest number of recorded family incidents of any local government area in Victoria.
The 8.6 per cent increase in family violence incidents in the past 12 months is the largest increase since 2018.
The family violence incident rate in Casey now sits at 1485.2 per 100,000 of the population, compared to the Victorian rate of 1399.1 per 100,000.
In comparison, total family incidents only rose by 1.8 per cent in the shire of Cardinia.
In the City of Greater Dandenong, family violence rose by 0.3 per cent to a rate of 1695.8 per 100,000.
Once again, the City of Casey has the dubious honour of the highest number of family violence incidents in the southern metro policing region, with the City of Greater Dandenong a distant second at 2787 incidents to June 2021.
Young women between the ages of 25-34 years of age are the largest group of victims in Casey with a startling 1,449 women in that group affected by family violence.
Alarmingly, family violence stalking in Casey has also risen by 32 per cent in the past year along with an increase in family violence order breaches in Casey rising by 15 per cent.
Gembrook MP Brad Battin blamed the increase on the State Government, stating harsh restrictions and extended lockdowns have caused extreme economic, social and mental health stresses.
“With so many frontline police enforcing Daniel Andrews’ mandates, it’s no wonder that family violence has spiked, and fewer victims are getting the support they desperately need,” Mr Battin, who holds the shadow portfolios of Police, Emergency Services, Corrections and Community Safety and Victim Support, said.
“Labor’s failed Covid-19 response has taken family violence from bad to worse. Casey families desperately need a new plan to reverse this trend.”
A Victorian Government spokesperson reminded residents that leaving home to escape family violence was permitted during lockdown and said help was available to those who need it.
The spokesperson added that the increasing trend started prior to the pandemic, which they attributed to a greater awareness of family violence in the community and increased access to support after the state’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.
“Mr Battin doesn’t understand how family violence reporting works,” the spokesperson said.
“We have more police in Victoria enforcing breaches of family violence orders and holding perpetrators to account – and because of our record investments we have greater service capacity to help victims recover and rebuild their lives.”
Elsewhere in Casey, there was good news on the crime front, with crime more generally down 9.4 per cent.
Casey recorded 15,742 criminal incidents in the past year, compared to 17,383 last year.
Stealing from a motor vehicle was the most common crime, with 1822 incidents recorded in Casey compared to 2840 in the previous year.
Breaches of public health orders, however, increased sharply to 1273, compared to 267 in the previous year.
If you need assistance for family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or 1800respect.org.au
If you are in immediate danger, call Triple Zero.