AS POLICE and community members across NSW marked Sunday's White Ribbon Day by swearing against domestic and family violence, there is evidence to suggest some western region communities have a long way to go when it comes to tackling the issue.
Domestic violence-related assault is occurring at rates many times the state average in some western centres, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
The rate of domestic assault reported in the Bourke local government area was 12.2 times the state average, topping the state for the 12 months to June 2012.
In Dubbo, domestic violence-related assaults were occurring at a rate twice the state average in the same period.
Other western region centres that ranked amongst the highest in NSW included Walgett with a rate of 6.4 times the NSW average, Coonamble (4.0), Wellington (2.7) and Cobar (2.1).
Dubbo ranked 14th of 140 local government areas in NSW when it came to the rate of domestic assault in the year to December 31, 2011.
BOCSAR figures indicate there were 305 domestic assault-related incidents reported in the Dubbo local government area for 2011, equivalent to a rate of 731.6 per 100,000 population.
The smaller western region centres of Bourke and Walgett topped the state for the rate of domestic assault, holding the number one and two spots respectively for each of the five years to the end of 2011. Coonamble was ranked 4th, Wellington 5th, Narromine 8th and Cobar 11th.
Overall, the North Western region recorded a rate of domestic assault 2.6 times the NSW average.
The North Western region includes the local government areas of Dubbo, Bourke, Walgett, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Mid-Western, Narromine, Warrumbungle and Wellington.
Bogan, Brewarrina and Warren local government areas also form part of the North Western region but with recorded populations of fewer than 3000 each they were excluded from the calculations.
Reported domestic violence-related assaults (12 months to June 2012):
Local Government Area Ratio to NSW rate
Figures courtesy of NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR)