Lessening fear has been attributed to the increased in reported rape and domestic violence cases in Clare, leading Garda officials have stated ahead of the opening of a protective service unit in Crusheen.
12 cases of rape were reported to Gardaí in the Clare Division last year, three more than 2018. There was also an increase in sexual assault crimes, 31 instances were dealt with in 2019 and 27 in 2018.
Domestic dispute offences rose by 23 percent from 309 to 379 in 2019. On sixty occasions last year, there was a breach of barring, safety and protection orders up from 38 in 2018, “the increase is favourable because people aren’t afraid to report incidents. The most important thing goes back to the person which is predominantly female but sometimes male, they feel confident now in reporting the danger”.
A dedicated unit to deal solely with sexual assaults is to be opened in Crusheen this July. “The increase in rape and sexual assault, depending on what way you look it, the increase could be argued that it shows a worsening scenario but really it shows people are willing to come forward. The Crusheen unit will make a massive difference there, not so much in the numbers but in the professionalism that we investigate, we always investigated professionally but it will allow us to investigate to the higher standards”.
Kilrush representative, Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) admitted he didn’t realise the numbers were “as high” in Clare for domestic orders and sexual assaults. “If there is a breakdown of those trends as to where they are occurring, is there something we as a Council can do to maybe light up certain areas,” he asked.
Clare Public Participation Network Representative, Madeline McAleer agreed with Chief Supt Colleran that the increases “are due to more inter-agency work”. She highlighted the benefit of a presentation on the work that would be undertaken by the protective service unit “and the impact of having it rolled out in Clare”. She added, “When you see increases you can think it is a bad thing but when we see the introduction of the protective service unit we will see another increase”.