• Clodagh Meaney

Domestic abuse in Ireland increases 25% during COVID-19 pandemic

Calls to Women's Aid have also increased by 39%

By Clodagh Meaney

Domestic abuse in Ireland has risen by 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes as An Garda Síochána released Operational Crime figures today to demonstrate crime trends for the 3-month period of March, April and May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. 

The figures show that breaches of Domestic Violence Order Incidents are also up 10%.

Formal notifications to TUSLA have also increased by 18%, which goes hand in hand with an increase in domestic abuse as Gardaí are obligated to contacted the child and family agency where a child is present.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women's Aid said that the figures give an insight into women's experiences with domestic violence during the health pandemic.

"The increased reporting highlights the important role Gardaí play in the protection of those being abused in their own homes.  It is encouraging to see priority being given to the issue of domestic violence through Operation Faoiseamh by the leadership and rank and file Garda members."

"It also services as a reminder to domestic violence perpetrators that they can and will be prosecuting for breaching domestic violence orders," she added. 

" We hope that this will continue after the crisis is over.  We know that only a small percentage of victims ever contact the Garda so today's figures are only the tip of the iceberg."

The organisation has seen a 39% increase in calls and a 74% increase on traffic to their website.

"When most of us think of home we think of a place of sanctuary and security. A place to retreat from the pressures of the outside world. Highlighting the safety of ‘home’ has been paramount during the Covid-19 emergency."

"However, this crisis has also focussed minds on homes that are not safe at all.  Since late March, Women’s Aid has been on the frontline answering calls from women who are trapped at home with very dangerous abusers," she added.

"We have spoken to women who have been attacked with weapons and fists, who are being verbally abused, controlled and monitored at all times.  Women with underlying health issues have reported that their partners are not adhering to COVID-19 restrictions deliberately."

On April 1st, An Garda Síochána launched Operation Faoiseamh.

The operation is a community engagement response to COVID-19, to ensure that domestic abuse incidents, including coercive control, would receive the highest priority response from the Gardaí

As the country enters phase two of re-opening the country, the operation to prioritise domestic abuse calls remains in place.

One in seven men in Ireland experience domestic violence, with that number narrowing for women where the statistics show one in three women are domestic violence survivors.

If you have been affected by this article, please contact Women's Aid on 1800 341 900 or Men's Aid on 01-554 3811.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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