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Operation Faoiseamh continues as 14% rise in domestic abuse incidents reported since last year

From March to November this year, a total of 22,540 incidents were reported – representing a 14% increase.

Image: Shutterstock/TORWAISTUDIO

THERE HAS BEEN a 14% increase in the number of domestic abuse incidents reported to Gardaí in 2020, new figures released by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee show.

A total of 19,344 domestic abuse incidents were reported to An Garda Síochána between March 2019 and November 2019.

From March to November this year, a total of 22,540 incidents were reported – representing a 14% increase. 

The figures comes after a report from Safe Ireland found that 3,450 women and 589 children contacted a domestic violence service for the first time seeking support and safety from abuse and coercive control during the first six months of Covid-19.

Mary McDermott, co-CEO of Safe Ireland, the national hub for 39 frontline domestic violence services, said: “The study exposes, yet again, patterns of domestic violence heightened by this pandemic.

“It also underscores the enormous strains that services throughout the country were under, and continue to endure, as they deal with the impact of [Level 5].”

While the government said it will prioritise domestic violence, McDermott said this has not been backed up by the resources and infrastructural modernisation that is needed. 

McEntee told Labour leader Alan Kelly this week that, between 1 January and 25 May 2020, Gardaí contacted – or attempted to contact – victims of domestic abuse 8,200 times as part of Operation Faoiseamh. 

McEntee said Phase 2 of the operation, which commenced in May, involves “a focus on targeting perpetrators – and in particular, cases of persistent breaches of protection, safety and barring orders under the Domestic Violence Act.”

McEntee said that €1.9 million funding had already allocated for 2020 in support of victims of crime, including victims of domestic abuse and confirmed that an additional €400,000 had been secured for 2021 to support organisations working with victims of domestic abuse. 

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Safe Ireland said earlier this week that the data it collected reflects the anecdotal stories reported by services from March and August.

Mirroring what Safe Ireland initially referred to as an ominous silence, the number of women accessing services decreased by 8% between March and April as lockdown restrictions came into full effect.

However, since April, the numbers have steadily increased month on month.

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