Gardaí responded to 48,400 incidents of domestic abuse last year, a 10% increase on 2020.

Latest figures from An Garda Síochána also show there was a 13% year on year increase in criminal charges brought for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse and a 6% increase in the criminal charges brought for breaches of Domestic Violence Act Orders.

Between 8 December 2021 and 5 January this year, 122 prosecutions were commenced following investigations carried out as part of Operation Faoiseamh.

The Garda operation to support victims of domestic violence during the pandemic began on 1 April 2020.

Between then and 7 January this year, gardaí say 45,283 contacts and attempted contacts were made with victims of domestic abuse.

The fifth phase of the Operation ran until 5 January.


134% rise in calls to one women's refuge


Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Detective Chief Superintendent Colm Noonan of the National Protective Service Bureau said the "supports, the initiative and the focus (on domestic abuse) will continue."

He said the force is working with the Department of Justice on the upcoming national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

Last year an internal Garda investigation revealed that over 3,000 domestic abuse calls to gardaí had been cancelled in recent years.

"It is something that we are working hard to resolve, it has been ... the subject of a review and we are engaged with the Policing Authority on that," Detective Chief Superintendent Noonan said, adding that they had "identified (in) the majority why those were cancelled."

He said they would continue to train gardai "to the highest level" in respect of how they should respond to domestic abuse calls.

He confirmed that Divisional Protective Service Units are now established in every Garda Division and the latest figures show that 392 members have been assigned to these units on a full-time basis.

Last week, the Irish Times reported that analysis of Court Service data showed that fewer than one in five people accused of domestic violence before the Dublin Metropolitan District courts in 2019 and 2020 were convicted.

Detective Chief Superintendent Noonan described domestic abuse and sexual crime investigations as "complex," and said "they take time."

"It is quite difficult to get some of those cases to court but I think it is important to recognise that as the years progress ... we do get people into court, we do get offenders prosecuted,, we do get offenders convicted in respect of these," he said.

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Responding to the increase in domestic abuse calls, Safe Ireland noted that while the statistics published show a 10% increase on the previous year, this represents an almost 60% increase since 2017 and said "the upward trajectory year-on-year is a grave concern".

"Whilst there are issues to be addressed regarding policing, Operation Faoiseamh has been extremely successful and Safe Ireland would like to see the operation mainstreamed and fully resourced," Mary McDermott CEO of Safe Ireland said.

"The most recent data provides a strong evidence base for this."

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women's Aid, said Operation Faoiseamh was a "very proactive and public statement to anyone in need of support of An Garda Siochana".

Ms Benson said domestic abuse is one of the most common crimes that gardaí are called to respond to, and welcomed a "continuing commitment" to focus on domestic abuse made today by gardaí.

"We also acknowledge that there is a very strong and robust domestic violence policy within An Garda Siochana," Ms Benson said.

"What we hope then is that all members will be given the adequate training and support to ensure that they respond in accordance with that policy."

An Garda Síochána has said personnel assigned to Divisional Protective Service Units (DPSUs) are provided with a bespoke training.

In addition to this, it said that during 2020/2021, around 80% of garda personnel completed a bespoke Domestic Abuse Online eLearning Programme.