Family violence incidents in Greater Bendigo have increased by more than 30 per cent in the past year, new data from Victoria Police shows.
Bendigo police recorded 1915 incidents in the region in 2018-19, which is up from 1465 in 2017-18.
The 30.7 per cent increase was part of a worrying upward trend, Women's Health Loddon Mallee chief executive Tricia Currie said.
"It's a trend that we all need to work towards reducing," she said. "In some ways, we expected there would be a rise because of the increase in awareness.
"There has been tremendous work between services and Victoria Police to ensure family violence is treated as a very serious issue. Police have got stronger systems so it's clearer to see that it is family violence."
The Victoria Police data showed there was a downturn in the number of cases in 2017-18, with 1465 incidents reported in the Greater Bendigo area.
But across the past five years, numbers have risen from 1663 in 2014-15, to the more than 1900 this past year.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said family violence continued to be a focus of police in the region.
"Police are continuing to respond to an increasing number of family violence criminal incidents every year," the spokesperson said.
"Victoria Police has come a long way in developing our responses to these crimes, raising community awareness and challenging attitudes supporting violence, providing safety to victims and referring them to support services."
The Victoria Police data showed family violence incidents have increased right across central Victoria.
In the Mount Alexander region, the number of reported incidents has increased by 40.3 per cent in the past year - from 159 incidents in 2017-18 to 223 in 2018-19.
For the Loddon region, there has been an increase of 32.2 per cent, while the Central Goldfields region has seen a rise of 18.4 per cent.
Across the whole central Victorian region, family violence incidents have increased 23.2 per cent on average in the past year.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said police in the region have been progressively specialising their response to family violence through the establishment of the Family Violence Investigation Units.
"Deployed across Victoria, including in Bendigo, these trained specialist investigators will understand the complexities of family violence to ensure effective risk assessment and evidence collection and use," the spokesperson said.
"Victoria Police has introduced the Case Prioritisation and Response Model to identify and manage high-risk family violence offenders.
"Bendigo FVIU commenced the new process in late July, which has increased the scope of proactive offender management dramatically."
Ms Currie said support services were also working with police to change attitudes around family violence.
"Locally, we have a tremendous number of organisations and leaders in the community looking to call out violence," Ms Currie said.
"The Campaspe Family Violence Action Group is the collective leadership from right across the response sector. We will come together to look at that data to explore and see if we find out what's happening.
"We continue to put in place things that better support people who are experiencing family violence, while also being mindful of the system changes that need to happen."
Ms Currie said education would be key to breaking the cycle of family violence.
"We know that we must continue to make the changes for the social justice of women and children through gender equality," she said.
"We know that will be a generational change in many cases, but we also know there are things we can do today, tomorrow, and next week in terms of challenging and removing barriers.
"Gender equality is the big picture. It's about not waiting and doing something later. It's about doing something now.
"It's about the way we drive the prevention of family violence - things like challenging gender stereotypes and calling out violence in all its forms."
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