Garda campaign advises young men to avoid violence

A Garda campaign has been launched urging young men to think, rather than use violence, as figures show a 10-year peak in assaults in 2017.

The Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign is targeting social media, in-pub advertising, nightclubs, sports clubs, youth clubs, and colleges.

Garda figures show that assault figures fell year-on-year between 2008 and 2013, but have increased since, with last year recording the highest number since 2008.

Gardaí said figures to date this year were on a par with the same period in 2017.

<b>Information provided for the campaign shows:</b>


<li>Early hours of Sunday morning are peak times for assaults (outside the home);</li>
<li>87% of offenders facing assault causing harm charges are male and over half are aged 18 and 34;</li>
<li>76% of offenders in minor assaults are male and a third are aged 18-34;</li>
<li>High level of repeat offenders (25%).</li>


A Garda statement said international research has shown that the level of assaults can be associated with the vibrancy of the night-time economy, which has shown signs of recovery in Ireland in recent years.

Garda figures show a 1% increase in assaults linked to the night-time economy between 2016 and 2017.

It said that to reduce assaults and enhance community safety, gardaí had implemented a multi-strand, anti-crime, strategy.

In relation to operations, they have identified “assault hotspots” and, from early summer, gardaí have put a high-visibility policing presence at those locations at key times.

On partnerships, gardaí say they are working with licensed premises, the business community and councils to address anti-social behaviour.

In relation to education, An Garda Síochána has launched the Use Your Brain Not Your Fist campaign, aimed at males aged 16-35.

Sergeant Graham Kavanagh from the Garda National Crime Prevention Unit urged young men to think about the impact of their actions on themselves and others.

“The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable,” said Sgt Kavanagh.

“They are usually carried out by males against males aged between 18 and 35. The peak time for these assaults is early Sunday morning.

“Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people.

“Walk away and look for help. Be streetwise when you’re out and about.”

Sgt Kavanagh urged victims to report the crime, noting that the CSO estimated that up to 40% of assaults were not reported.

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