Reports that gardaí failed to respond to domestic violence calls is a 'deep concern' 

Reports that gardaí failed to respond to domestic violence calls is a 'deep concern' 

"All members of the Garda must be reminded of their responsibilities under the Garda Domestic Abuse Policy," said Women's Aid CEO Sarah Benson. File picture. 

Women's Aid has said recent reports that Gardaí failed to respond to thousands of domestic violence calls is a "deep concern".

An internal investigation has found many victims received no help after calling 999 in domestic violence incidents.

Some of the incidents involved people repeatedly calling the emergency line and not getting the assistance needed.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women's Aid, said if the reports are true, it means members of the force did not follow their own protocols. 

"There needs to be a complete review of the internal systems and practises which clearly require some work in order to ensure that the kind of breach of procedure which is being reported can never happen again. 

"Also the fact the gardaí have a very robust domestic abuse policy and guidelines as to how all members irrespective of where and how they operate within An Garda Síochána should respond," she said. 

Women's Aid said gardaí are key frontline responders to combatting domestic abuse in Ireland, and public trust in their response is essential.

"At the present moment what is of critical importance is that there is a swift, sensitive and systematic outreach to those whose calls went unanswered; to assess their safety and support needs. 

A complete root and branch revision of internal systems and practices must also be completed to ensure that such a grievous breach of procedure can never happen again. 

"All members of the Garda must be reminded of their responsibilities under the Garda Domestic Abuse Policy and held to this standard. We have been given assurance that these actions are currently high priorities for An Gardai Síochána," said the charity's CEO.

A statement from the charity said Women’s Aid remains available to anyone impacted by domestic abuse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900. 

Further information is available on their website at www.womensaid.ie

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