An increasing in domestic abuse incidents throughout the country during 2020 has been described as “alarming” by a Clare TD.
Provisional figures available to An Garda Síochána for 2020 reveal that Gardaí received approximately 43,000 calls to respond to domestic abuse incidents, representing a 16% increase on 2019.
In excess of 4000 criminal charges were referred for breaches of domestic abuse court orders, up 25% on 2019, and in excess of 7600 criminal charges in total for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse were reported in 2020, up 24% on 2019, the Department of Justice stated in response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Michael McNamara (IND).
More than 4,300 domestic abuse court orders were notified to Gardaí last year, the Department confirmed. Three convictions were recorded for coercive control, one Circuit Court conviction by Jury following trial, one Circuit Court Conviction on plea of guilty and one District Court conviction on a plea of Guilty.
Deputy McNamara commented, “Bearing in mind that Ireland is experiencing an extraordinary time of crisis, these numbers are shocking and highlight the wider implications for society of the pandemic and the Government’s response to it”.
“While there are a number of organisations across Ireland working tirelessly to provide professional support to domestic abuse survivors, it is clear that wider supports are needed in light of the growing incidences of domestic abuse,” he added. “Furthermore, NPHET in its recommendations to Government must take cognisance of the implications of ongoing restrictions for society.”
In her response to the Clare TD, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (FG) said, “I would like to assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána attaches the highest priority to domestic abuse incidents and in order to ensure appropriate targeted and proactive action and supports during the pandemic established Operation Faoiseamh. Operation Faoiseamh continues to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected by An Garda Síochána during this extraordinary time and ensures that domestic abuse incidents are receiving the highest priority response.”
“I can also assure the Deputy that tackling domestic abuse and providing supports for victims is a priority for me as Minister and for Government. I am working with my colleagues and with our partners to ensure we have an appropriate collective national response that supports victims and holds perpetrators to account,” added the Minister.