Number of assaults causing harm rose by almost 20% in Dublin area between 2012 and 2015

Gardaí say the number of assaults is often linked with "the vibrancy of the night time economy"

Number of assaults causing harm rose by almost 20% in Dublin area between 2012 and 2015

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The number of assaults causing harm rose by almost a fifth between 2012 and 2015 in greater Dublin.

Figures show that there were 1,396 assaults causing harm in 2012 - with the number rising to 1,707 in 2015.

The number of minor assaults also increased, from 3,100 to 3,337.

However, the number of assaults has decreased nationally so far this year - with minor assaults down 2% and assaults causing harm down 4%.

Gardaí are launching a new awareness campaign today, targeted at men, to try and reduce the number of assaults.

Statistics released to coincide with the new campaign show that 83% of offenders in assault cases are male, while a majority of offenders are aged between 18 and 39. Men also account for three-quarters of assault victims.

According to gardaí, the increase in assaults in the last few years is "in line with the rise in the night-time economy".

Street assaults are said to typically occur between 8pm and 5am during the weekend.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney, Garda Bureau of Community Engagement, said: “The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable. They are usually carried out by males against males aged between 18 and 39, during evenings and early mornings.

"Don’t be that guy; use your brain not your fists. Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people. Walk away and look for help," he added.

Sergeant Courtney is also encouraging anybody who is assaulted to report the crime, as it is estimated only around 55-60% of assaults are currently reported.