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17% increase in domestic abuse calls to gardaí last year, report finds

The figures were contained in the force’s annual report for 2020, which was published today.

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GARDAÍ RECEIVED APPROXIMATELY 43,500 calls to respond to domestic abuse incidents in 2020, a 17% increase on the previous year.

The figures were contained in the force’s annual report for 2020, which was published today.

Over 7,600 criminal charges were brought against alleged offenders, while more than 4,000 criminal charges were brought for breaches of Domestic Violence Act Orders, both up 24% since 2019. 

More than 12,000 Domestic Violence Act Orders were issued in 2020.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that 2020 was “an unprecedented year for the country that required an exceptional response from An Garda Síochána to help keep people safe during a global pandemic.”

“This saw An Garda Síochána and its personnel to react swiftly to provide reassurance to the public that we were there to help them through incredibly difficult and challenging times,” he added. 

The policing plan was revised last year to take account of the impact of the pandemic and saw the introduction of a number of policing operations, including Operation Faoiseamh to help tackle domestic violence.

“Given the limitations on movement placed on people, we knew domestic violence would increase. A dedicated operation was put in place that saw a significant level of contacts made with victims of domestic abuse and prosecutions taken against perpetrators,” Harris said.

22,795 contacts and attempted contacts were made by gardaí with victims of domestic abuse last year and over 217 prosecutions were taken that were directly related to Operation Faoiseamh.

Protective service units have also been established in every Garda division.

Harris also said that while crime rates fell across most areas, “criminals still sought to exploit the pandemic”. 

“In particular, significant amounts of drugs, cash and guns were seized, and major figures in organised crime gangs were brought before the courts. This work saved lives and degraded the capacity of such crime gangs.”

Approximately €36,695,244 worth of drugs were seized by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau in 2020, as well as over €7.8 million in cash. 

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23 firearms and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition were also seized during the year.

75 attempted assassinations have been thwarted since the incident at the Regency Hotel in 2016, including two in 2020. 

Under Operation Thor, established to target organised crime gangs, there was a 42% decrease in residential break-ins since 2015 as well as a 33% decrease in non-domestic burglaries.

14,487 arrests were made as part of the operation.

“Of course, none of what was achieved during the year by the organisation would have been possible without the great work by Garda personnel who had to react rapidly to very challenging and difficult professional and personal situations,” Harris said. 

The report also found that the force grew to 14,491 gardaí, the largest ever personnel size in the history of the state.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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