McEntee 'certain' Gardaí take sexual violence seriously in light of cancelled 999 calls report

Helen McEntee said the report was "disappointing" and "worrying" but said she was convinced that gardaí are taking sexual violence seriously. 
McEntee 'certain' Gardaí take sexual violence seriously in light of cancelled 999 calls report

The Justice Minister said it was "disappointing" that so many of the cancelled 999 calls related to domestic violence, given what she said was the "level of work being done" by gardaí. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

The Justice Minister has said she is "certain" that gardaí take sexual and gender-based violence seriously in light of Thursday's report into wrongly cancelled 999 calls.

The report, published on Thursday, found that a number of the 200,000 cancelled calls could have resulted in "serious harm" to victims, or in offenders not being brought to justice.

However, speaking in Dublin on Friday Helen McEntee said the report was "disappointing" and "worrying" but said she was convinced that gardaí are taking sexual violence seriously. 

Ms McEntee said it was "disappointing" that so many of the cancelled 999 calls related to domestic violence, given what she said was the "level of work being done" by gardaí.

"I am certain [it is being taken seriously] because the Garda Commissioner himself has from the very outset of his term, prioritised domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence. The report is worrying — any person who seeks help, the idea that they would not get the help that they need, when they take the decision to come forward, it's disappointing.

"We need to just make sure that everything is done to prevent that type of incident from happening again."

Ms McEntee said her department and the gardaí will act on all of the recommendations in the report.

"There were numerous instances, not just the one. So we have a report that has recommendations for my department, we're acting on them already and we will move on the remainder.

"There are recommendations for the gardaí — they have acted on some of them already, and they will act on remainders. But we need to look at them. To be honest I really want to go through it in as much detail as possible. I had asked for this to be brought to the attention of the Policing Authority back in 2020 because I was concerned at some of the issues that had been brought to my attention.

All I can say is everything will be done to make sure that we have the most robust structure in place that when somebody comes forward seeking help that they get that help. That's the most important thing here.

Ms McEntee was speaking as ministers of the Council of Europe responsible for addressing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence met to sign up to the Dublin Declaration, which aims to strengthen cooperation on the issues across Europe. 

In total, 38 of the 46 countries in attendance signed up to the declaration.

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