Garda units to tackle sex crimes and domestic abuse go live

Campaigners say new services will give women more confidence in gardaí

Campaign groups have welcomed the setting up of the new units. Photograph: iStock

Campaign groups have welcomed the setting up of the new units. Photograph: iStock

 

Four new Garda units go live across the State on Friday in an effort to crack down on sex crimes and domestic abuse.

Gardaí say the Divisional Protective Services Units, based in Cabra, Clondalkin, Anglesea Street in Cork and Dundalk, “will provide a consistent and professional approach to the investigation of domestic and sexual crimes across the country”.

The units will focus on specialised crime types, including sexual crime, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse. They will also focus on support for vulnerable victims of crime.

The units will be supported on an advisory level by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau.

Phase two of the national rollout of protective units will begin in 2018. There will be up to 15 personnel attached to each unit including an Inspector, two detective sergeants, 10 detective gardaí and two administrative staff.

Deputy commissioner of policing and security John Twomey said Friday marks “a significant step forward” in the provision of protective services for vulnerable people in Ireland.

Victims

“It means that people who are victims of a range of crimes, including sexual, domestic or child abuse, prostitution and human trafficking can expect a more professional and consistent service from the Gardaí,” Mr Twomey said.

“It will also provide us with an opportunity to place vulnerable victims of crime at the centre of the Garda service.”

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive Noeline Blackwell said they had “waited for these units for a long time”.

“We need well informed, well trained gardaí to effectively combat sexual, domestic and gender-based violence. We need victims to be confident that if they work up the courage to report, their cases will be investigated in a consistently high quality manner. These units are structured to provide that,” Ms Blackwell said.

Maeve Lewis, chief executive of One in Four, which supports adults who have experienced sexual abuse in their childhood said: “We believe that the specialist training provided to gardaí in the DPSUs will improve the experience of survivors of child sexual abuse in engaging with the gardaí, and hopefully will encourage more people to come forward.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland said the units will give women “greater confidence” in the services provided by An Garda Siochana.