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Tag Archives: Sergeant Caitríona Houlihan

Safety of domestic abuse victims ‘always the priority’ for gardaí

THE SAFETY of domestic abuse survivors is prioritised at all times by Clare Gardaí, according to Sergeant Caitríona Houlihan. Commenting on issues raised by South Galway mother-of-three, Sourney Linnane, who experienced harrowing coercive control, Sergeant Houlihan stressed local gardaí constantly risk assess when dealing with survivors of domestic abuse. An informal interview suite in Crusheen Garda Station is available to any Clare garda investigating domestic violence or a sexual crime. Sergeant Houlihan said a big focus for the gardai is to ensure victims are not traumatised again, which can unwittingly happen if they are interviewed in a garda station. “The interview suite is very calm and peaceful, accessible but very private. People suffering from domestic abuse are sometimes followed watched or tracked particularly if they go near a garda station. “The most dangerous time is when a woman or a man decides to leave an abusive relationship. We are conscious at all times of the need to minimise the risk …

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22 cases referred since June to Divisional Protective Services Unit

TWENTY-TWO investigations have been referred to the new specialist Garda unit tasked with investigating sexual and domestic crime, since the Clare unit was set up this summer. The Divisional Protective Services Unit (DPSU) opened in May and became fully operational a month later, according to Detective Sergeant Paul English who made a presentation to the Joint Policing Committee last Monday. There is now a unit in every Garda division, Sergeant English noted, tasked with investigations into areas involving vulnerable adults, sexual crime, online child exploitation, domestic abuse, trafficking, organised prostitution and victim liaison. He also told JPC members that while there had been a drop, during the lockdown, in the number of survivors coming forward to organisations such as Rape Crisis Midwest (RCMW), there had been a noticeable increase as the country reopened. Of the 22 investigations referred to Clare’s DPSU, 18 related to sexual assaults, including rape; two concern child exploitation and two involve coercive control. Giving an overview …

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