By Clodagh Meaney
An Garda Síochána have announced Operation Faoisimh as part of measures to protect and support victims of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The operation is a proactive initiative, commencing as part of An Garda Síochána community engagement response to COVID-19, designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected in this extraordinary time.
The initiative will utilise the Garda Victim Services Offices nationwide to facilitate phone contact with previous victims of domestic abuse to ascertain any existing issues of concern and to ensure the protection of families. Any concerns will be immediately responded to by An Garda Síochána.
Gardaí say there has been a recorded a year on year increase in the reporting of Domestic abuse incidents between 2019/ 2020 of approximately 16%, but have not currently recorded a significant increase in Domestic Abuse incidents since the introduction of COVID-19 Public Health Measures.
In recognising the increase in anxiety and fear felt by those who may be victims of domestic abuse during this of lockdown, the Gardaíwant to reassure victims that domestic abuse incidents, including coercive control, will continue to receive highest priority response for service.
The restructuring of An Garda Síochána ensures that there are more Gardaí than ever on our streets and in our communities around the country and we are ready to assist and protect victims of domestic abuse.
In a statement released today, the force said that a great deal of work and planning has gone into maintaining their continuity of services and to date it is going to plan.
Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau stated: "I am conscious and aware that victims of Domestic Abuse can feel afraid and concerned at this time and I wish to assure those experiencing such abuse that An Garda Síochána are available and willing to assist you in this difficult time."
"The Covid-19 outbreak has not diminished our service and we are committed to your protection," he explained.
"If you are a victim of abuse or you know of a family member or friend who is a victim of such abuse, that information is important to us and I ask that you make contact with An Garda Síochána."
Mr. Daly urged that if you require urgent assistance or support, to contact 999 or 112.
Women's Aid have issued advice recommending that people vulnerable to abuse carry a charged mobile phone with them at all times and in emergencies contact the Gardaí.