An Garda Síochána has moved to reassure victims of domestic abuse and coercive control amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The force says it recognises the increase in anxiety and fear felt by those who may be victims of domestic abuse during this period.
It says: "An Garda Síochána is taking this opportunity 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."
Gardaí have recorded a year-on-year increase of approximately 16% in the reporting of domestic abuse incidents between 2019/2020.
However they have not seen a significant increase in incidents since the introduction of COVID-19 public health measures.
An Garda Síochána says it continues to liaise with and support partners in State and non-State agencies "to facilitate continuity in respect of access to support services and Courts Services."
Currently there are 245 members and staff allocated to the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and 15 Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSU) nationally to investigate domestic abuse and wider issues.
This crime type is being monitored on a daily basis under the office of assistant commissioner, Special Crime Operations and the Garda National COVID-19 Co-ordination Group.
The GNPSB is also overseeing the implementation of ‘Operation Faoisimh’ - a proactive initiative as part of community engagement response to COVID-19.
It is designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected in this extraordinary time.
The initiative will make contact with previous victims of domestic abuse to highlight any existing issues of concern and to ensure the protection of families.
Any concerns will be immediately responded to by An Garda Síochána.
Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly of the GNPSB says: "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.
"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.
"If you require urgent assistance or support, please call 999 or 112, we are there to listen to help and to protect".