Gardaí provided updated crime statistics at the Kilkenny JPC meeting
Domestic violence incidents here have soared by more than 30% this year, new figures show.
At a meeting this week of Kilkenny’s Joint Policing Committee, Garda Detective Inspector Sean O’Meara provided members with up to date crime statistics, and said it was a cause for concern.
“It is a worry for us,” he said. “It’s 308 for the year to date, up from 235 – that is a 31% increase. The only comfort we can take from that is that people now are in a position where they feel they can actually report it. It’s a very difficult crime type for people to report.
“Anything we can do to help those people report it and then seek the help they can from refuges and support bodies, we really need to engage with those. The refuge in Kilkenny in particular do great work with us for very vulnerable people.”
Chairman of the Joint Policing Committee Pat Fitzpatrick described the 31% as ‘a startling figure’. Cllr Deirdre Cullen said she was concerned the rise in reported domestic abuse was the tip of the iceberg.
“It is still one of the most unreported, undocumented and unprosecuted crimes on our statute books,” she said.
Cllr Cullen asked if gardaí always endeavoured to check back in with people who had reported domestic abuse, even if a call had come to nothing, or somebody later decided not to take the matter further.
“I would see that as being very important,” she said.
Chief Superintendent Padraig Dunne said that in general, An Garda Siochana to do seven-day callbacks.
"So within seven days of an incident there will be a callback to the person concerned," he said.
"An Garda Siochana gave a commitment there would be a seven-day callback, and that is what we are endeavouring to do in Kilkenny and Thomastown at the moment."
Also responding to Cllr Cullen, Det Insp O’Meara said Operation Faoiseamh had been running throughout the country and here in relation to callbacks and domestic violence.
“The call is initially responded to, and within seven days – and as much as possible within the next day – we endeavour to get somebody back to that person,” he said.
“In person, face to face to make sure they’re not being intimidated and they have an opportunity to make whatever complaint they wish to make without fear of reprisal from the other person.”
Det Insp O’Meara added that it was national policy that ‘every single breach of domestic violence order is arrested, charged and brought to court. Without fail’.
For those in need of help or support, Amber Women’s Refuge run a 24/7 helpline on 1850-424244 or contact Men's Aid on 01-5543811.