Concerns at the increase in domestic violence cases
(file image)

Concerns at the increase in domestic violence cases

RISING cases of domestic violence have led to the implementation of specialist abuse coordinators within a number of policing districts across South Dublin County.

The focus of the role is on repeat victims exhibiting “warning markers” or concerns that “matters may escalate”, according to local gardai.

Crime statistics for most of the policing districts in the county reveal an increase of domestic violence in 2021.

However, statistics for these incidents also include cases where no offence was disclosed, as in, a scenario where gardai respond to a call but the victim does not wish to make a statement, or no criminal offence is alleged.

Increasing levels of domestic violence has been flagged locally and nationally throughout Covid by advocates, citing lockdowns, people spending more time at home, less social interactions, job losses, increased substance misuse, as some of the contributing factors.

The Clondalkin district (which saw a 60 per cent increase – 81 cases – of domestic violence incidents in 2021), has already implemented a domestic abuse coordinator, while Lucan (incidents down six per cent) and Ronanstown (up 100 per cent at 24 cases), are set to roll out a similar policing response.

Speaking at the JPC Policing Meeting, Sgt Eoin Beatty, Ronanstown Garda Station, said the roles provide an “extra layer of attention” to repeat victims of domestic violence.

He said the attention was focused particularly on the “warning markers” to “try and prevent serious assault or potentially domestic homicide”.

Sgt Beatty said the role sees an individual guard assigned to a repeat victim, to engage with them and try get them on board with domestic violence services, state and semi state NGO’s, such as Women’s Aid or Saoirse Women’s Refuge.

“Potentially getting them housing or developing safety plans, or leaving their partner, obtaining domestic violence orders, and potentially bringing them through the criminal justice system, if that’s what they decide to do,” he said.

Explaining the reasons for recording ‘no offences’ on call outs to domestic violence reports, Sgt Beatty said gardai often get a call during “crisis mode”, but “when things cool down”, the victim is “less willing” to go through the criminal justice system.

That system can present risks if the victim is living with the offender, but Sgt Beatty said this is what the domestic coordination team is trying to address, via safety planning, domestic violence orders, and “one point of contact” for gardai across different units.

Gardai also note that there is a call back system in place even when no offence is disclosed, where within one week, gardai call back to the address, and speak to the parties involved with regard to any issues arising or assistance they can provide.

Share This