Gardai in the Carlow Kilkenny division receive nearly one call a day in relation to domestic violence. Supt Mick Nevin told a public meeting of the Kilkenny Joint Policing Committee that they had received 311 reports in relation to domestic violence last year a significant portion of which were drink related.
Supt Nevin said that not all of the calls resulted in a prosecution but that each one represented a person who felt the need to contact the Gardai in relation to an incident or the behaviour of a loved one.
Supt Nevin stressed that there are a number of services available for people who are suffering from domestic violence. “I urge people who find themselves in a domestic situation to contact some of the services available,” said the Supt Nevin.
The Amber Women’s Refuge has also experienced a high level of demand for its services. A spokeswoman for the refuge said that the refuge is full most of the time, but that they never turn away a woman in need and through the Safe Ireland Network they will secure them a bed in a refuge. The spokesperson urged anyone who suffered domestic violence to contact Amber where they can avail of free counselling and a safe haven to stay for up to 12 weeks.
Alcohol also plays a role in a significant number of the domestic violence cases that require the Gardai’s assistance. Supt Nevin said that a former district court judge reckoned that nine out of ten crimes committed in Kilkenny had some element of alcohol involved in them.
The statistics presented by the Supt Nevin reveal the extent to which alcohol is a problem in Kilkenny. 435 people were arrested last year for being drunk. Supt Nevin said that these were not individuals who had taken one or two drinks, but people who were so drunk that they were a danger to themselves or others. In December there was a 26% increase in drunkenness compared to 2010.
In order to try and tackle the issue of public drunkenness the Gardai have been carrying out more inspections of licensed premises. In 2011 the Gardai carried out 410 inspections of licensed premises an increase of 16% on the year before.