A NEW breakdown of Tamworth's crime stats reveal rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in the city have risen markedly in the last two years.
The figures compiled through by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) showed instances of sexual assault had risen by 44 per cent in Tamworth since 2017, while rates of domestic violence had climbed by 21 per cent in the same time.
In the 12 months to March 31, there were 98 reported sexual assaults in the Tamworth Regional Council area, up from 68 in the previous year.
Rates of domestic violence also rose in the same period with 318 incidents in 2017-18 rising to 385 in the following year.
The rise in domestic assaults was reflected across the region with a 5.1 per cent increase in New England and the North West.
"The rise in DV assault is also likely to be a case of increased reporting rather than increased domestic violence," BOCSAR executive director Don Weatherburn said.
But Tamworth Family Support Service (TFSS) domestic violence team leader Lynda Townsend said it was still a community issue which was "under-recognised, under-funded and under-supported".
While the figures might suggest the rate of reporting physical assaults has climbed, Ms Townsend said it still ignored a component of domestic violence, including psychological and financial abuse.
"The figures speak to a considerable amount of women who are not receiving appropriate support," she said.
She said governments needed to take a closer look at domestic violence and what it cost communities.
"We've lost services that play a vital role in domestic violence prevention," she said.
Some advocacy groups suggest 21 women have been killed by their partners in 2019, while the Australian Institute of Health of Welfare reported 2.2 million Australians had "experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or previous partner".
"If those figures were in a different context, something like road fatalities, there'd be a major prevention initiative to combat it," she said.
"The government needs to really look at this and the cost, not only to independent services, on the wider systems including and the courts."
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said latest BOCSAR report indicated crime rates were falling.
"However, I am concerned there is an increase of reports of domestic violence and sexual assault and I want the community to know that we must not tolerate this antisocial behaviour," he said.
"I encourage victims of this crime to get help from the support groups that are available."