Spike in domestic abuse calls to gardaí last year

New figures also show more than 4,000 criminal charges were referred for breaches of domestic abuse court orders in 2020 – a 25% increase on the previous year
Spike in domestic abuse calls to gardaí last year

More than 7,600 criminal charges for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse were reported over the course of last year. File Picture

The number of calls made to gardaí about domestic abuse incidents increased in 2020.

New figures reveal that more than 43,000 individual calls were made to An Garda Síochána last year – a 16% increase on 2019’s total.

The figures also show that more than 4,000 criminal charges were referred for breaches of domestic abuse court orders in 2020 – a 25% increase on the previous year.

More than 7,600 criminal charges for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse were reported over the course of last year - up from 2019’s total of 6,129.

The new information on domestic abuse incidents in 2020 was provided by An Garda Síochána to Clare independent TD Michael McNamara via the Department of Justice.

Mr McNamara said the numbers were "shocking" and highlighted the wider implications of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"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 said.  

"Furthermore, Nphet in its recommendations to Government must take cognisance of the implications of ongoing restrictions for society." 

The department also confirmed that in excess of 4,300 Domestic Abuse Court Orders were notified to An Garda Siochana in 2020.

The figures were provided to Independent TD for Clare, Michael McNamara. File Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The figures were provided to Independent TD for Clare, Michael McNamara. File Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Replying to Mr McNamara, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said gardaí always attached “the highest priority” to domestic abuse incidents. 

She said Operation Faoiseamh – a Garda operation launched in April 2020 – was continuing to ensure that victims of domestic abuse were "supported and protected during this extraordinary time".

Ms McEntee said tackling domestic abuse and providing supports for victims was a priority for her 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," she said.

The Department of Justice also confirmed to Mr McNamara that in excess of 4,300 Domestic Abuse Court Orders were notified to gardaí last year. 

Additional provisional figures also showed that:

  • Three convictions for Coercive Control were recorded – the first-ever such convictions in the State.
  • One Circuit Court conviction by jury following trial 
  • One Circuit Court Conviction on plea of guilty 
  • One District Court conviction on a plea of guilty

In a statement, gardaí said they were continuing to develop their services in the area of domestic abuse. 

They said that several Divisional Protective Services Units have now been set up around the country with specially-trained officers working on the investigations.

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