Reporting of domestic violence concerns ‘a civic duty’, garda says

App allowing victims to discreetly make a journal of incidents launched in Dublin

(Left to rigth) Women’s Aid chief executive Sarah Benson, Vodafone chief executive  Anne O’Leary, and Det Chief Supt Declan Daly at launch of BrightSky, a free app providing information on domestic abuse and sexual violence. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

(Left to rigth) Women’s Aid chief executive Sarah Benson, Vodafone chief executive Anne O’Leary, and Det Chief Supt Declan Daly at launch of BrightSky, a free app providing information on domestic abuse and sexual violence. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

Reporting concerns that a neighbour or friend might be being domestically abused to gardaí is a “civic duty”, a senior member of the force has said.

Det Chief Supt Declan Daly, of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, said: “If people are concerned that another person is in danger or in harm’s way, in any environment, it doesn’t have to be sexual or domestic violence, they should report it”.

He was speaking at the launch of an app, sponsored by the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, that aims to help victims of domestic violence. BrightSky was developed in collaboration with Women’s Aid and London based charity Hestia, which works with women and young people at risk.

The central feature of the app is a digital journal that allows users to log incidents of domestic abuse using a text, audio, video or photo function without the data being saved to their phone.

The entry in the journal is saved remotely, can be sent to a support agency and could be used as evidence in a future Garda investigation.

There has been debate in the UK since the weekend about the need to report concerns about domestic incidents following an apparent row between Boris Johnson, the front runner to be the next prime minister, and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. Their neighbours contacted police saying that they heard Ms Symonds shout “get off me” and “get out of my flat”.

Women’s Aid chief executive Sarah Benson said the app would help users who “may not be women who would automatically seek refuge, but do need support and assistance to build a pattern of abuse”.

Ms Benson said that “the conversation has definitely opened up on the issue of domestic violence in this country in recent years. Tragically that has been largely as a consequence of some utterly appalling losses of women and children; nonetheless we have to use this opportunity to try and prevent such atrocities happening in the future.”