Gardai respond to 48,400 domestic abuse incidents
FIGURES published by An Garda Síochána reveal that there has been an increase of 10% of domestic abuse incidents in 2021 as Saoirse Domestic Violence Services say they have seen this reflection in calls to their 24-hour helpline.
The provisional figures released by the gardaí this week revealed that they responded to 48,400 domestic abuse incidents in 2021 as well as preferring in excess of 4250 criminal charges for breaches of Domestic Violence Act Orders in 2021 – a 6% increase on 2020.
An Garda Síochána also preferred in excess of 8,600 Criminal charges for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse in 2021, up 13% on the previous year.
Allison Graham, CEO of Saoirse Domestic Violence Services (SDVS), told The Echo that the service has seen this increase in people reaching out for help and advice since the pandemic began.
“We have been operating since 2006 and the number of people reaching out to us has increased over the years as people have got to know that we are here, but we definitely did see an increase when the pandemic hit”, said Allison.
“We did see an increase in 2020 and 2021. There was a definite increase over the past two years of women contacting our service – the helpline and our outreach service and our refuge.”
Allison says that she believes that this increase will continue once the pandemic has passed due to the more open conversations in Ireland about domestic abuse which are helping to destigmatize it.
“There are more conversations happening about domestic violence and how it is not acceptable”, she said. “It is not a private matter for a couple – it needs to be looked at and it needs to be challenged and resourced properly.”
SDVS currently operate a 24-hour helpline, as well as refuge accommodation and an extensive outreach service across South-West Dublin and West Wicklow for anyone who feels that they are in an intimidating or dangerous environment and are seeking help and guidance to get out of it.
“It is an extremely brave and daunting step to make, and women think about it many times before they might make a call”, explained Allison.
“I would say that if people feel that they need support to contact our helpline and our new website has a lot of information about domestic violence and about supports for people who are contemplating contacting us for support and encouraging them to make that step and we will welcome them and look at their options to ensure their safety.”
Saoirse currently have two refuge accommodations in Rathcoole and Tallaght. The Tallaght accommodation has just reopened after it was closed for a period of time at the end of last year.
For information or support around domestic violence, you or someone you know is experiencing, you can all the 24 /7 Helpline on 01-463000 or Email 24/7 at email@example.com
Outreach WhatsApp 087-1049863 Monday-Friday 9-5 or Email Outreach Service at firstname.lastname@example.org Monday-Friday 9-5.