Ahead of the Christmas period, gardaí have urged people experiencing domestic abuse, or who are worried about someone they know, to come forward and make a report.

"The Christmas period is an enjoyable time for the majority of citizens, but An Garda Síochána understands the fear and concern of some in our community have in their own homes, which can be further heightened at this time of year," said Detective Superintendent Colm Noonan.

Gardaí are continuing to see an increase in domestic, sexual and gender based violence, with almost 50,000 reports of domestic abuse made so far this year.

There was a 9% increase in reports this year, with a total of 49,257 reports made to date in 2022.

This means that, effectively, gardaí responded to calls about domestic violence every 10 minutes.

Since 2019, 481 incidents of coercive control have been recorded to date, including 173 incidents this year.

There have been 58 charges brought in relation to coercive control since 2020, with 23 of those charges occurring this year.

Detective Superintendent Sinead Greene said that there have been 15 convictions for coercive control to date, and that there are more cases before the courts.

She said that it is a "sad reality" that many people have been living under coercive control for "years and decades".

She described it as a pattern of behaviour that includes humiliation, intimidation, as well as restricting people's movements, phone or social media use and making decisions on another person's behalf.

More than 90% of garda members have received specific training to deal with cases of coercive control.

Extra training is also being provided on the application and prosecution of domestic violence orders.

A 'Risk Evaluation Tool' is also operational in three out of four garda regions, and is expected to be fully operational once further training is completed.

Detective Chief Superintendent Colm Noonan from the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said that the commitment of the force to support victims was "unwavering".

"We are focused on a number of operational areas that we believe will enhance how individual gardaí respond to victims and incidents of domestic abuse to ensure that no matter where a person lives, the service and protection they receive from An Garda Síochána will be of a consistently high standard."

An Garda Síochána said that under Operation Faoiseamh, "the vulnerable and victims of abuse will continue to receive the highest priority from An Garda Síochána".

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