There has been an 18% increase in calls for help from domestic violence victims to gardaí over the last year, as well as a 14% increase in detections for breaches of court orders.

Gardaí have announced a new phase of Operation Faoiseamh, which they say entails a renewed focus on the enforcement of court orders and the prosecution of offenders.

Operation Faoiseamh forms part of the force's community engagement response to Covid-19.

It began on 1 April with the goal of providing enhanced proactive support to victims of domestic abuse.

Divisional Protective Services Units have now been established in every garda division.

The head of the National Bureau, Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, has stressed that travel restrictions do not apply to victims of domestic violence or anyone helping them escape a risk of harm.

The launch of phase three of Operation Faoiseamh is a further drive to arrest and bring before the courts offenders who have breached domestic violence legislation and in particular court orders, according to gardaí.

Incidents of domestic violence and detections of the crime have increased since the operation was established.

Calls to gardaí are up 18% year on year, detections for breaches of court orders increased by 14% and 107 people are facing prosecution.

Gardaí also said they had made more than 15,000 contacts with, or attempts to contact, victims of domestic abuse this year.

Det Chief Supt Daly said the operation is in place to ensure domestic violence victims feel safe and assured them that gardaí will respond "quickly and robustly" to their calls.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said this is a "real priority" for gardaí.

He said: "This phase is about ensuring that people who have gone to the trouble of getting a court order - that they're enforced and that people are safe in their homes.

"We've arrested and prosecuted 107 people in relation to Operation Faoiseamh already throughout this pandemic and today we will start another phase of that where we will concentrate our efforts on those who have breached court orders in relation to domestic abuse."

Det Chief Supt Daly said one of the positive results of the operation is the "encouragement and reassurance that people get" from gardaí reaching out to them.

Meanwhile, TV and radio adverts for the 'Still Here' campaign against domestic abuse recommence today.

Developed by the Department of Justice in collaboration with a number of frontline services, the adverts are a reminder that for many people in Ireland, their home is not a safe place, particularly at this time.

"For anyone living in an abusive relationship or in fear for their safety, going back to Level 5 must feel frightening and difficult," said Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

"We know that home is not a safe place for all of us, and domestic violence increased during the initial lockdown we faced in the Covid-19 crisis.

"I want victims of domestic and sexual abuse to know that An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and other services, including the vital supports provided by our community and voluntary sector, are still here for you as we now face more restrictions.

"If you are in this situation I want you to know we will react when you need us, we will protect you. I also want you to know that the 5km restriction on movement does not apply to you if you are seeking help."