Domestic violence cases rise to record level

Domestic violence cases surged to a record level in Cork City last year.

Gardaí investigated 724 cases while one offender, it emerged yesterday, breached a barring order five times.

Chief Supt Michael Finn told a Cork City joint policing committee (JPC) meeting that there had been a year-on-year rise in domestic violence since 2009, when at least 635 incidents were reported.

There were 708 in 2011 and 724 last year, he said.

The chief superintendent admitted “the numbers were significant” but noted many of the incidents did not result in arrests. He said gardaí normally tried to quell a situation through on-the-spot mediation if there were no breaches of barring, safety, or protection orders.

However, while the volume of domestic violence call-outs has increased, the number of people arrested for breaching such court orders dropped from 99 in 2009 to 77 last year.

Chief Supt Finn revealed there had been “more than one domestic incident” last year at 87 separate addresses across the city.

He said that in 2012 there were 77 cases of barring orders being breached, of which 76 were committed by men.

In total, 13 of the offenders were arrested more than once for breaching such orders and one had been arrested five times.

About 35% of domestic incident call-outs took place in the Gurranabraher Garda District, he said, while 29% were received in the Togher Garda District. A further 20% occurred in the Mayfield district.

The remaining 16% were recorded in the Anglesea St district which covers the city centre where there are a proportionately smaller number of domestic dwellings.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, a senior official in Cork City Council told the JPC that three of its tenants were either evicted or surrendered their rented houses last year because of alleged antisocial behaviour.

Valerie O’Sullivan, the council’s director of corporate and external affairs, said the local authority also dealt with 20 new claims of antisocial behaviour in 2012 and had issued 10 tenants with verbal or written warnings.

The local authority also issued five “notice to quit” orders last year and decided not to pursue seven antisocial behaviour cases following successful mediation.

She further reported the city council issued 1,097 on-the-spot litter fines last year. Each fine costs €150.

A total of 64 people who did not pay were brought before the courts and only one managed to put up a successful defence.

Under bylaws created by the city council, gardaí issued 213 on-the-spot fines for on-street drinking in 2012 which totalled €15,975. An outstanding 50 cases have yet to be paid and will now be pursued in the courts.

* Women’s Aid helpline: 1800 341 900.

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