Assaults on older women up almost 20% during Covid-19 restrictions

The number of assaults actually rose among women aged 30-44 (up 2%) and increased sharply among women aged 60 and over (up 18%)
Assaults on older women up almost 20% during Covid-19 restrictions

Women’s Aid cited a significant rise in reports of domestic violence during the Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: file image

There has been a significant increase in assaults on older women during the Covid-19 restrictions — in sharp contrast to a dramatic reduction in the total number of assaults, new figures show.

Cases of sexual assault of a child also increased during the second quarter of the year, while drugs cultivation and dealing boomed and murder threats also rose.

The CSO continues to publish the information "Under Reservation", reflecting concerns at the quality of the underlying data.

The figures for April-June 2020 show that while the number of male victims of assaults fell by 26% compared to the same period last year, the reduction was just 10% among females.

Among the latter, the figures show that the number of assaults actually rose among women aged 30-44 (up 2%) and increased sharply among women aged 60 and over (up 18%).

The figures do not provide any details on the context of the assaults and whether or not they occurred in family homes.

Last month, Women’s Aid cited a significant rise in reports of domestic violence during the Covid-19 restrictions.

The CSO figures for Q2 2020 also show:

  • A 29% increase in murder threats (from 289 to 373) and a 5% rise in harassment cases (414 to 433), in contrast to a 16% reduction in all assaults; 
  • A 10% rise in defilement of a child under the age of 17, in contrast to a 20% reduction in the total number of sexual offences;
  • A 133% jump in cases of false imprisonment (from 12 to 28);
  • An 18% increase in aggravated burglaries (51 to 60) in contrast with a 53% drop in all burglaries.

While there is no official explanation of murder threats, gardaí have said they can include gang feuds, drug debts and domestic violence situations.

The CSO figures also show a doubling in cases of drug driving, in contrast to a sharp reduction in drink driving.

The data indicates a booming drugs market, with the number of cultivation of drug cases more than doubling (from 45 to 97) and a 40% jump in drug dealing.

Weapons offences are up 17%, due mainly to a 27% increase in people caught with offensive weapons, including knives (up from 578 to 733).

Shootings are down considerably (-54%), though possession of a firearm is up 7%.

The CSO said recorded crime figures for April to June were “dramatically impacted” by the general lockdown and restrictions, with substantial reductions in most offences, including a 39% reduction in thefts.

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