I propose to take Questions Nos. 660 and 661 together.
I am informed that the Garda Síochána Analysis Service, having reviewed the recorded data, are unable to provide the statistics requested by the Deputy. They have informed me that trying to establish unique persons in these incidents would require the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources in order to provide suitably accurate figures.
I would like to assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána attaches the highest priority to domestic abuse incidents and in order to ensure appropriate targeted and proactive action and supports during the pandemic established Operation Faoiseamh. Operation Faoiseamh continues to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected by An Garda Síochána during this extraordinary time and ensures that domestic abuse incidents are receiving the highest priority response.
Provisional figures available to An Garda Síochána for 2020, which maybe of interest to the Deputy, indicate that under Operation Faoiseamh:
- Gardaí received approximately 43,000 calls to respond to domestic abuse incidents, 16% increase on 2019
- In excess of 4000 criminal charges referred for breaches of domestic abuse court orders, up 25% on 2019
- In excess of 7600 criminal charges in total for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse, up 24% on 2019.
- In excess of 4300 Domestic Abuse Court Orders notified to AGS in 2020
- 3 convictions recorded in 2020 for Coercive Control
- 1 Circuit Court conviction by Jury following trial
- 1 Circuit Court Conviction on plea of guilty
- 1 District Court conviction on a plea of Guilty
Gardaí also continue to develop their specialist services in this area and Divisional Protective Services Units have now been rolled out nationwide, with specially trained officers responsible for investigations, including engagement with victims.
I can also assure the Deputy that tackling domestic abuse and providing supports for victims is a priority for me as Minister and for Government. I am working with my colleagues and with our partners to ensure we have an appropriate collective national response that supports victims and holds perpetrators to account.