DOMESTIC violence cases in the Cork West division were up 26% last year compared with 2019, according to the latest garda figures.
The division saw the largest increase in domestic violence incidents out of all the three divisions, with 537 incidents reported in 2020, compared to 426 incidents in 2019. Both Cork city and Cork North divisions also saw reports up 12% on the previous year.
Speaking at last week’s online meeting of the Cork Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Chief Supt Barry McPolin said that the lockdown and the pandemic has caused huge difficulties in some families.
‘People are confined to home and it can lead to increased levels of stress and friction,’ he said. And he added it’s important to note that the 5km travel restriction doesn’t apply to those fleeing domestic violence or seeking refuge.
‘We kept a very close eye on this as part of Operation Faoiseamh since last April, and we have dedicated staff from the Protective Service Units (PSU) to contact those fleeing domestic violence and who can offer them support.’
Chief Supt Con Cadogan of the Cork West division said the figures are now trending down, by 24.2%, over the last two months.
‘This is indicative of the PSU that was set up in Dunmanway in January of last year, which is working very closely with voluntary groups. A lot of people have come forward. There are approximately 40 live cases, and many of those are moving into the court system. Hopefully this downward trend will continue,’ he said.
There were also low reports of rape or sexual assault in Cork West over the past 12 months, which Chief Supt McPolin said is partly due to the absence of the night-time economy and socialising.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Aindrias Moynihan described the increase in domestic violence cases as ‘alarming.’ ‘The lockdown measures introduced to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic have greatly added to the increase in cases, and there are also historic cases,’ said Deputy Moynihan.
‘The people behind these figures are distressed, vulnerable and often isolated, and they need to be protected.’