Gardaí are stepping up their efforts to crack down on sex crimes and domestic abuse.
They say four new divisional protective units are going live which will provide a consistent and professional approach across the country.
They will be rolled out in Dublin, Cork and Louth today as part of An Garda Síochána's Modernisation and Renewal programme.
25 new units will go live from the beginning of next year.
- Sexual Crime Investigation
- Online Child Exploitation Investigation
- Child Protection, Crimes against Children and Child Welfare
- Domestic Abuse Intervention and Investigation
- Human Trafficking Investigation
- Organised Prostitution Investigation
- Specialist Interviewing
- Sex Offender Management
- Missing Persons
- Missing Children in Care
- Support for Victims of Crime
- Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS).
Noeline Blackwell, CEO Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said: "Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has waited for these units for a long time. We are pleased to see four units being rolled out. We need well informed, well trained Gardaí to effectively combat sexual, domestic and gender based violence.
"We need victims to be confident that if they work up the courage to report, their cases will be investigated in a consistently high quality manner. These units are structured to provide that. We hope that now that the roll out programme has started it will continue so that victims of sexual crime everywhere will have access to these Protective Service Units," she said.
Maeve Lewis, Chief Executive One in Four said: "One in Four warmly welcomes the roll-out of Protective Service Units in three Garda Divisions. We believe that the specialist training provided to Gardaí in the DPSUs will improve the experience of survivors of child sexual abuse in engaging with the Gardaí, and hopefully will encourage more people to come forward.
"The DPSUs will also ensure that Gardaí investigating these very serious crimes will be equipped with the knowledge and skills that these complex cases require," she said.
Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) said: "NWCI welcomes the establishment of Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSUs). We know from women throughout the country how difficult it is to report domestic, physical and sexual violence and the new divisional units are a significant positive step forward to changing that experience and supporting women through the criminal justice system.
"Having a dedicated service for women who have experienced domestic and sexual violence will support women in reporting these crimes and having greater confidence in the services provided by An Garda Síochána. The units will contribute to women staying in the system and thus reducing the high attrition rates for cases of domestic and sexual violence," she said.