Echuca man driving up sexual offences rate in Campaspe Shire

STEEP RISE: Campaspe Shire recorded a 208 per cent rise in sexual offences in 2016.
STEEP RISE: Campaspe Shire recorded a 208 per cent rise in sexual offences in 2016.

Campaspe Shire recorded the second highest rate of sexual offences per capita in Victoria last year, with one man charged 236 times, according to the latest crime data.

Crime Statistic Agency figures showed a massive 208 per cent increase in recorded sexual offences in the shire, which Inspector Geoffrey Owen described as a “one off spike”.

The Echuca man, 27, was charged in April with hundreds of historical sex crimes, including grooming type offences and internet and telecommunication offences by the Sex Crime Squad in Melbourne.

Inspector Owen said that prior to the spike the offence data in the area was relatively stable. 

“We know that victim reports of sexual offences continue to go up year on year. Sexual offences are one of the most under reported personal crime types, so we want to continue to see increases in reporting,” Inspector Owen said. 

“We believe that a part of the reason reporting has increased is due to increased confidence in police following the introduction of Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Teams in 2006.”

Meanwhile, recorded sexual offences in the Bendigo region rose just over 10 per cent, from 273 in 2015 to 304 in 2016, while stalking and harassment and threatening behaviour had a massive 68 per cent rise during the same period – from 207-348.