The State’s new ‘Zero Tolerance’ approach to domestic violence “is working”, a Fine Gael TD has insisted.
Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd was speaking after new figures showed a significant rise on domestic violence court order breaches last year.
Figures released to Deputy O’Dowd revealed there were 3,035 court order breaches related to domestic violence in 2018.
In 2022, there were 4,741 and a further 1,736 in the first five months of this year.
Deputy O’Dowd said zero tolerance of domestic violence “has to work” and has led to an increase in victims coming forward.
“It is working in the context that the reported number of crimes - that is where people breach domestic orders, where they actually go to jail - is increasing significantly,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“That means more people - and more women in particular - have the confidence that the system will support them, that they are treated specially in the courts [and] if you have to go to court, the Gardaí will support you.
“That they’re specially trained to help you to make that decision.”
Deputy O’Dowd described breaches of domestic violence-related court order as a “serious" problem and underlined the urgency of the implementing Government policy.
“That’s zero tolerance, increasing fines and jail sentences and so on,” he said.
“I think that’s protecting people in their home, protecting vulnerable women and it’s hugely important and this shows that we need to do a lot more.”
The TD said lockdown had had a “significant adverse effect” on domestic violence and there was “huge concern” among the Gardaí.
“In fact, the truth still is that the home is the most dangerous place - particularly for women and victims of domestic violence to be in,” he said.
“It’s entirely unacceptable that there’s a huge increase.
“This is an order of the court that you must leave the home and cannot harass in any way the person involved.”
Women’s Aid estimates that one in four women in Ireland have been abused by a current or former partner.
If you are affected by domestic violence, you can contact Women’s Aid’s 24 hour National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.
Main image: Domestic violence. Picture by: Alamy.com