A MAJOR increase in domestic violence reports in West Cork can be attributed to the presence of a recently-opened Protective Services Unit (PSU) in the division, according to a garda chief.
Reports of domestic violence made to gardaí in the Cork West Division have risen by 40% since the start of the year compared to figures for the same period for last year.
Chief Supt Con Cadogan said that while exact figures have not been released, they have seen the increase in the division.
‘This happens in any division where a PSU is set up, as people are more inclined to report incidents and there is greater communication and collaboration between statutory and voluntary groups,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
‘The figures for the first four months of this year are certainly well up on last year’s figures. But it’s hard to work out what’s related to the Covid-19 lockdown, too, as the unit was set up in January so both are overlapping.
‘Members of the unit have also gone out and met with groups liked WCWAV (West Cork Women Against Violence project) and people are more inclined now to come forward when they know there is a specialised unit investigating that type of crime.’
He said that the lockdown since March has certainly contributed to the increase in domestic violence reports but emphasised that they are not all marital-related. ‘You have sons, daughters, partners and it’s the whole family unit, not just husband and wife.’
Set up in January and based at Dunmanway Garda Station, the PSU deals with sexual crime, child and domestic abuse.
Going forward, there will be two sergeants and 10 gardaí who will work closely with Tusla and the HSE, as well as other voluntary groups.