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Domestic Violence: What To Do If You – Or Someone You Know – Is Suffering During Lockdown

An 18% year on year increase in calls for assistance in respect of Domestic Violence related issues has been recorded by An Garda Síochána between 2019 and 2020.

An Garda Síochána has announced the commencement of another phase of Operation Faoiseamh – which will see vulnerable citizens and victims of domestic abuse prioritised. Here's how.

As restrictive measures by way of COVID-19 persist some seven months later, An Garda Síochana has implemented new measures to ensure that those trapped in toxic situations in the home are protected. 

A third phase of Operation Faoiseamh – the guards' community engagement response to COVID-19 – has commenced with the goal of providing enhanced proactive support to victims of domestic abuse. 

This phase will see the actions of the previous phases combined as well as:

  • Gardaí proactively reaching out and making contact with previous victims to provide reassurance, support and to offer the assistance of local and specialised resources.
  • A renewed focus on the enforcement of court orders and the prosecution of offenders.
  • A continuation of treating all instances of Domestic Abuse as a priority and once again re-enforcing their commitment to ‘keeping people safe’, and in particular the victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
  • An Garda Síochána will continue 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.

The vulnerable and victims of abuse will continue to receive the highest priority response from An Garda Síochána.

READ: Domestic Violence In Ireland – Who To Call If Isolation Has Become Unsafe

As of October 19, gardaí have recorded an 18% year-on-year increase in calls for assistance from domestic violence victims, as well as a  year-to-date increase of 14.7% in detections for offences relating to breaches of court orders obtained pursuant to relevant provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 2018.

Gardaí have made over 15,300 contacts or attempted contacts to victims of domestic abuse as part of Operation Faoiseamh. 

They have also stressed that COVID-19 travel restrictions do not apply in the case of domestic violence or to escape the risk of harm. 

“An Garda Síochána are mindful of the fear and concern some in our community may have at this time,” Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said. 

“I wish to take this opportunity to re-emphasise our commitment to protect the most vulnerable in society. Operation Faoiseamh has been established to ensure you are safe,” he said.

"If you feel threatened or are in fear please contact us and we will respond quickly and robustly. 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 have been affected by domestic abuse; 

Women’s Aid operates a 24hr National Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900

Aoibheas can also be contacted 24/7 on (01) 867 0701 / [email protected]

A feared increase in domestic violence has also been prioritised in the Garda’s planning for COVID-19, to contact their Crime Victim's Helpline call 116 006.

An interactive map is also now live here where you can find details of the local community service providers who are available to take your call.

Anyone who requires urgent assistance or support is being asked to call 999 or 112.

READ: Know Your Rights – Psychological Abuse In Relationships Is A Legal Offence In Ireland

READ MORE: Here's What You Can Do To Help Disadvantaged Women In Ireland