GSOC investigated 80 complaints of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in the Gardaí last year, according to new figures.
New figures show that domestic abuse and sexual violence are on the rise – with the ombudsman saying it expects to focus greater attention on the “phenomenon of the abuse of power for a sexual purpose” in the coming years.
The figures released to the Irish Independent show GSOC investigated 80 complaints last year and 30 so far this year.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, journalist Ellen Coyne said there are several different types of complaint under investigation.
“Some related to complaints about Gardaí themselves perpetrating sexual violence or domestic abuse,” she said.
“Others could be examples of Gardaí exploiting their position and using a position of power or authority for sexual gain.
“On the other side of the scale, complaints could relate to a failure on the part of Gardaí to investigate allegations of domestic violence or sexual abuse.”
Ms Coyne said both the Garda Commissioner and GSOC have publicly said they aim to increase the focus on domestic and sexual violence.
A Garda review of all incidents was launched last year and is still ongoing.
“When we are looking at these figures and these complaints to GSOC are increasing, we do have to consider that in the past few years, particularly since the pandemic, awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Ireland has increased,” she said.
“So, it could be a good thing sometimes, if you have more people coming forward and making complaints.
“It might not be a sign that prevalence is increasing, it could be a sign that awareness is increasing.”