Gardaí record biggest increase in assaults for almost ten years

Officers are urging the public to "use your brain, not your fists"

Gardaí record biggest increase in assaults for almost ten years

Image: An Garda Síochána

The number of assaults in Ireland is on the rise.

2017 saw the highest increase in almost 10 years and it's being to be linked to the improving economy.

Figures from the gardaí show most assaults are carried out by young men, at the weekend and close to public places.

Last year saw the highest number of assaults since 2008 - 75% were classed as minor.

Assaults this year are on par to match 2017's figures.

The Garda figures highlight the fact that nearly 90% of assault causing harm are carried out by men - with just over half carried out by men between the ages of 18 and 34-years-old.

Assaults generally happen in and around public places between 8pm and 5am at the weekend - peaking early on Sunday mornings.

Gardaí have been increasing patrols in hotpots where many fights occur.

They are also re-introducing their public awareness campaign called 'Use Your Brain Not Your Fists.'

It is letting young men and women know they could lose their job, ability to travel and even go to jail if they hit someone - and reminding people assaults can have devastating physical and mental effects on victims.

The campaign will run across social media, in pubs and nightclubs and in sports and youth clubs.

Gardaí are also working in partnership with pubs, clubs, businesses and local councils to address anti-social behaviour issues.

"Use your brain, not your fists"

Garda Sergeant Graham Kavanagh from the National Crime Prevention Unit (NCPU) said young men need to think about the impact of their actions on themselves and others.

"The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable,” he said.

"They are usually carried out by males against males aged between 18 and 35. The peak time for these assaults is early Sunday morning. 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.

"Be streetwise when you’re out and about.

"Planning is key to having a good night out. Arrange transport to and from events in advance. Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Avoid walking alone and in dark places. Be wary of your surroundings and mind your property.”

Complaint

He said statistics indicate that assaults could be under-reported by as much as 40%, and urged anyone who has been the victim of a crime to come forward. 

"Some victims of assaults, particularly men, are embarrassed to say they have been assaulted," he said.

"I would encourage anybody, and in particular younger men, to report all assaults to An Garda Síochána."

He said Gardaí will treat anyone who has been assaulted with sensitivity - and will fully investigate all complaints.

With reporting from Stephanie Grogan ...