Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy

06.41 22 Jul 2021


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There has been a 68% increase in domestic violence cases forwarded for potential prosecution this year.

The COVID-19 lockdowns are being blamed for the sharp rise.

These new figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show the sharp rise in domestic violence cases has continued this year.

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In the first five months of 2020, Gardaí sent 327 domestic violence files to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

They were looking for the go-ahead to bring people to court for the offence.

That number increased to 550 between January and May of this year.

Pandemic

Criminal barrister and Fine Gael senator Barry Ward said the big rise is down to the pandemic.

“We were aware from all kinds of other indicators that there was an increase in domestic violence cases but that is quite stark and quite shocking in terms of the extent of that increase,” he said.

“Because of the pandemic, people were put in situations they might not otherwise have been in and certain family circumstances meant people working from home were on top of each other and I presume that is what gives rise to that increase.”

Services

He said State services should prepare for the possibility the figures will remain high post-pandemic.

“We know that the way people work is changing and has probably changed forever in the course of the pandemic and more people will be working from home,” he said.

“So, there is a danger that the figures don’t return to where they were; that they remain at an elevated level and we need to ensure that An Garda Síochána is trained and equipped to deal with those situations.

“Perhaps most starkly we need to ensure there are refuges available to the victims of domestic violence.”

Some 60% of this year's cases were in Dublin, with 328 files received by the DPP.

That is followed by 32 in Cork, 31 in Donegal and 16 in Waterford.


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Court Crime DPP Domestic Violence Files Garda Gender-based Prosecution Refuge Violence

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