There has been a 40% increase in domestic violence call-outs across Ireland, according to figures released to TD Peadar Tóibín at the end of last week. The figures coincide with statistics revealing a 75% surge in recorded sexual offences in Ireland from 2011 to 2021.
The figures, released through a Parliamentary Question, showed that the number of domestic violence calls responded to in 2022 was 53,775 – representing an increase of 4,462 calls, a 9% increase on 2021 figures.
Overall, a 40% increase in domestic violence call-outs responded to by Gardaí across Ireland has been recorded since 2019.
Mr Tóibín, a TD for Meath West and leader of Aontú, described the figures as “staggering” and “heart-breaking”. The politician recently asked the Minister for Justice for clarification on the number of times gardaí were called to scenes of domestic violence in the State in each of the past ten years and to date in 2023.
Commenting on the disconcerting revelations, he told Gript: “This is a disaster for tens of thousands of people, mostly women. These are truly heart-breaking figures”.
In a statement sent to Gript, the TD said that he had recently received a response to a Parliamentary Question which showed that more than 1,000 people, mainly women, had attended a sexual assault treatment unit last year – adding that this marked the “first time ever” the number surpassed 1,000 people.
Mr Tóibín said the number had increased by 20% – the equivalent of an extra 200 people attending a treatment unit, as he pointed to a huge increase in rape and sexual violence in Ireland.
“In 2011 there were 1,958 Sexual offences recorded. In 2021 the figure increased by 75% to 3,433 sexual offences. In 2011 there were 447 rapes recorded. In 2021 it had doubled to 983 rapes,” Mr Tóibín said.
“Ireland is becoming a more violent place, especially for women,” he continued, as he hit out at the government response to those impacted by domestic violence.
PORN CONSUMPTION AN ISSUE
“Society and the Government are failing victims and survivors of domestic violence,” he said – as he highlighted the impact of porn consumed by children in Ireland who are “as young as ten,” the TD said.
“The Government is introducing a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation. There is significant evidence that this violent action is widespread in pornographic material that is consumed by boys as young as 10. Yet the government has refused to follow the lead of the French Government or the Aontú Bill which would stop the provision of these materials to children,” he said.
SENTENCING TOO LENIENT
The TD said that another problem is found in the leniency of sentencing in Ireland, stating that a “zero tolerance” policy is needed, meaning stronger sentencing.
“While sentences vary, Ireland is far too lenient in terms of our sentencing in terms of domestic violence or sexual abuse.
“We need a zero tolerance policy, and that means stronger sentencing. It also means more Gardaí being available when called out to these crimes. We also need stronger support in place for survivors. There are entire counties without any shelters available for victims of domestic abuse.
“The state needs to stop dragging its feet on these issues. Too many people’s lives have already been damaged by inaction on this issue,” he said.