High harm hurts Wyndham

More than 1600 people were assaulted in Wyndham, with over half of the offences related to family violence. 170238_04

By Alesha Capone

More than 1200 people have become victims of high harm crimes such as serious assaults, aggravated burglaries and rapes in Wyndham across 12 months.

Victoria Police defines high harm crimes as those involving the loss of life or resulting in life-long and severe physical, mental and emotional harm.

Data released by the Crime Statistics Agency show Melbourne recorded the most high harm crime victims in Victoria during the 2020-21 financial year, with 2015 individuals affected, followed by Greater Geelong with 1489 victims and Casey with 1436 victims.

Wyndham and Hume both recorded the equal fourth-highest rate of high harm victims, with 1253 individuals each.

During the 12 months, four people were murdered in Wyndham and 621 people were subjected to serious assaults, with more than half of these related to family violence.

There was also 163 aggravated burglary victims and 128 aggravated robbery victims in Wyndham.

An additional 142 people were indecently assaulted and 109 people raped.

More than 44 per cent of the indecent assaults were connected to family violence and almost half of the rapes.

As well, Wyndham recorded 1768 victims of “medium harm” crime such as common assault and threatening behaviour.

Medium harm crimes are defined as felonies that are malicious, intentional or involve threats against another person.

Almost 70 per cent of the 988 common assaults committed in Wyndham related to family violence, along with 68.4 per cent of threatening behaviour incidents.

An additional 3996 “low harm” crime victims were recorded in Wyndham.

Wyndham Local Area Commander, Acting Inspector Steve Hayes, said the statistics showed high harm offences – such as aggravated robbery – have reduced in the area over the last 12 months.

“The reduction in these types of crime can be attributed to both the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions, as well as ongoing operations targeting serious and violent crimes,” he said.

Acting Inspector Steve Hayes said police understood that reporting sexual assaults could be difficult.

“Victoria Police has dedicated detectives who are trained to listen to these complex stories,” he said.

“If victims feel more comfortable, they can also contact support services such as the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA).”

For assistance, contact West CASA on 9216 0411 or westcasa.org.au, or Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response centre on 1800 015 188 or www.safesteps.org.au/