Irish more likely to intervene in illegal dumping than domestic violence

Survey finds intervention more likely in male-on-female violence than vice-versa

Irish people are more likely to personally intervene if they witness illegal dumping than if they witness domestic violence, according to a new EU-wide survey.

Seventeen per cent of Irish people would be “very willing” to confront someone over an environmental crime compared to 15 per cent who would intervene to help someone being publicly assaulted by their partner.

They are even less likely to intervene if they witness a parent strike their child. Just 12 per cent of those surveyed said they would be very willing to step in if they witnessed a child being hit by a parent.

The findings are contained in the Fundamental Rights Survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Researchers interviewed 1,006 Irish people in May 2019.


Confrontation rate

Respondents were asked if they would intervene in three scenarios: if they witness someone dumping an old fridge in the countryside, witness a person suddenly hitting their partner and witness a parent slap their child in the street.

In all cases, Irish people were less likely than the EU average to want to confront the person. On average across the union, 19 per cent of people would be very willing to intervene in each scenario.

In the UK, only 7 per cent would be very willing to intervene if they witnessed an environmental crime. Twelve per cent would be very willing to step in in a domestic violence case and 11 per cent if they saw a parent hit a child.

Asked if they would rather call the police or intervene in a situation themselves, Irish people were more likely than any other EU nationality to want to call the police instead of personally getting involved.

Violent incidents

Irish people are also far more likely to say they would intervene in a case of male-on-female domestic violence than in female-on-male domestic violence situation.

Sixty-three per cent of Irish people would be “willing or very willing” to step in if they saw a man hit a woman compared to 30 per cent if a woman hit a man. The EU average was 64/44 respectively.

Regarding being a victim of violence themselves, 13 per cent of Irish people who had suffered a violent incident in the previous five years said they reported it to the Garda, the fourth-lowest proportion in the EU. Across all EU states the average reporting rate was 30 per cent.

The survey showed Irish people are the third most likely EU nationality to fall victim to online banking fraud – 8 per cent of Irish respondents said they had experienced online banking or payment fraud in the previous five years, behind only France (19 per cent) and Denmark (15 per cent).

Irish people are also the least worried in the EU about experiencing a terrorist attack – just 3 per cent described themselves as “very worried” compared to an EU average of 19 per cent.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times