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Alarm at rise in breaches of domestic abuse orders


SHOCK has been expressed over a spike in Clare in breachers of domestic violence orders, over the course of 2020, as well as an increase of reported incidents of abuse within the home.

Figures presented to Clare’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week show that there were 89 breaches of barring, safety and protection orders last year. This compares with 72 such incidents in 2019, and represents a rise of 24%.

Commenting on the figures, Deputy Violet Anne Wynne, a member of the JPC, said the pandemic seemed to have created a situation whereby some people felt they had the opportunity to breach orders issued by the courts. “We need to increase the visibility of Gardaí in order to deter these people,” the Sinn Féin representative said. “The marked increase in crimes connected to domestic violence is quite shocking and in contrast to the decrease seen in other kinds of offences. When it comes to crime during the pandemic, we have been told that many categories are down, but that there has been a spike in incidents where people take advantage of the situation and believe that they won’t be detected, so we do need to step up and to increase visibility.

Deputy Wynne commended the Gardaí for Operation Faoiseamh which is operating to support those experiencing domestic violence during the pandemic. “Gardaí have responded very positively to support people who are experiencing violence in the home and there is additional training for them,” she said. “I have raised the issue of resources including vehicles and personnel for patrols and have been told that there is no issue. More needs to be done, however and that’s true when it comes to keeping people informed about the different kinds of orders that are available if they are experiencing domestic abuse.”

Over the course of last year, a rise in incidents of domestic violence was also seen with 425 incidents detected. That represents an increase of 8% on the 395 incidents reported in 2019.

Nationally, figures for 2020 show that Gardaí were called to a total of 43,000 domestic violence incidents, up 16% on 2019. More than 4,000 criminal charges have been brought against people for breaching domestic abuse court orders, an increase of a quarter.

Gardaí have stressed that the 5km travel limit doesn’t apply to anyone seeking to escape domestic violence and Clare Haven’s 24-hour helpline is available at 065-6822435.

 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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