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Domestic Violence

More than 16,600 domestic abuse reports made to gardaí so far this year

It represents a 4% increase on the same period in 2022.

GARDAÍ HAVE RECEIVED more than 16,600 domestic abuse reports so far this year, a 4% increase on the same period in 2022.

New figures released as part of Go Purple Day, a garda initiative to raise awareness about domestic abuse and local support services, show that gardaí also attended more than 54,000 domestic abuse incidents in 2022, a 21% jump since 2020.

Up to the end of 2022, gardaí had recorded approximately 500 coercive control incidents.

58 were before the courts by the end of the year.

The head of the the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said there has been a sea change in how society deals with domestic abuse.

Detective Chief Superintendent Colm Noonan said: “It is something that needs to move away from behind closed doors, and into a space where we can support people, we can give them their options, and ultimately, we can support them in the justice system.

“I really do want to reassure the public that we’re here to listen in the first instance, but ultimately, we will investigate and we will prosecute offenders of domestic abuse.

“It’s something that we have a big focus on and it’s something that we’re putting a lot of our time, energy and resources into.”

He said if people are not ready to commence prosecution or make a statement, they can still avail of assistance through gardai and support organisations.

He said domestic abuse perpetrators “hide in very plain site”.

“They’re in every community, in every village in every town in Ireland, so we really do need as a society and as a group just to understand the extent of domestic abuse in Ireland.”

Aoibhneas, which provides domestic abuse support for women and children, welcomed the Go Purple Day event.

The organisation’s head of services Cristina Santamaria said domestic violence was a societal problem that has increased since Covid-19.

She said the figures were “sad” but a positive was that there was more trust in the system.

“The guards are crucial in offering the support in terms of the court, the orders and the safety measures they can provide.

“I think there is that kind of element of creating trust that comes with days like today where the guards are really on the side of the victims and they’re working together to alleviate the crisis and put measures towards it.”

The day coincides with the publication of the Policing Authority’s assessment of policing performance for 2022 which welcomed “sustained progress” in the area.

It said: “There continues to be a focus on the improvement of service to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence — with a number of successful convictions in 2022 highlighting the impact of the important, sustained progress that continues to be made in these areas.

“This includes notable increases in the capacity of the Garda Siochana to analyse seized IT devices to assist in the investigation of all crimes, but with particular benefit to the response to offences involving child sex abuse.

“The decrease in the number of devices awaiting analysis is a considerable success for the organisation.”

However, it noted that significant challenges remain which will require continued action.

It said: “Increased reporting is placing growing demands on the organisation, and in particular the specialist units and bureaux concerned with DSGBV.

“Increases in cases being referred to the gardaí, growing numbers of increasingly sophisticated electronic devices and the continued emergence of cases of historical institutional abuse will demand an ongoing responsiveness.”

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Press Association
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