UPDATE: Garda operation to protect domestic violence victims during Covid-19 lockdown

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Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

UPDATE: Garda operation to protect domestic violence victims during Covid-19 lockdown

Garda operation to protect domestic violence victim during Covid-19 lockdown

An Garda Síochána has reassured domestic violence victims that they are available to help them during the current Covid-19 lockdown.

They should contact their local Garda station or in an emergency call 999/112.

In a statement, they said: "An Garda Síochána recognises the increase in anxiety and fear felt by those who may be victims of domestic abuse during this period of Public Health Measures to combat COVID-19.

"An Garda Síochána is taking this opportunity to reassure victims that domestic abuse incidents, including coercive control, will continue to receive highest priority response for service.

"The restructuring of An Garda Síochána ensures that there are more Gardaí than ever on our streets and in our communities around the country and we are ready to assist and protect victims of domestic abuse.

"An Garda Síochána has recorded a year on year increase, of approximately 16%, in the reporting of domestic abuse incidents between 2019/2020 but we have not currently recorded a significant increase in domestic abuse incidents since the introduction of Covid-19 Public Health Measures.

"An Garda Síochána continues to liaise with and support our partners in State and non-State agencies to facilitate continuity in respect of access to support services and Courts Services.

"A great deal of work and planning has gone into maintaining our business continuity and to date that plan is robustly holding firm.

"Frontline Gardaí, Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSU) are all resources available to respond to these crimes.

"Currently, there are 245 Garda members and staff allocated to the GNPSB and 15 DPSU nationally to investigate domestic abuse and wider issues.

"This crime type is currently monitored on a daily basis under the office of Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations and the Garda National COVID-19 Co-ordination Group chaired by Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security.

"The GNPSB is overseeing the implementation of ‘Operation Faoisimh’, a proactive initiative, commencing as part of An Garda Síochána community engagement response to COVID-19, designed to ensure victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected in this extraordinary time.

"The initiative will utilise the Garda Victim Services Offices nationwide to facilitate phone contact with previous victims of domestic abuse to ascertain any existing issues of concern and to ensure the protection of families. Any concerns will be immediately responded to by An Garda Síochána."

Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau stated: "I am conscious and aware that victims of Domestic Abuse can feel afraid and concerned at this time and I wish to assure those experiencing such abuse that An Garda Síochána are available and willing to assist you in this difficult time.

"The Covid-19 outbreak has not diminished our service and we are committed to your protection.

"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 require urgent assistance or support, please call 999 or 112, we are there to listen to help and to protect."