Domestic violence rises by third in Dublin’s north inner-city

Garda figures show incidents up 14% on same period in 2020 across city while other crimes fall

Domestic violence has increased by more than one-third in Dublin north inner-city, the latest Garda figures show.

It is the only crime that has significantly increased in the city in the first two months of this year, compared with the same period in 2020.

The data, presented at the city’s joint policing committee on Tuesday, comes as reports indicate children are increasingly getting caught in the cross-fire in domestic abuse incidents.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney told the committee while reported incidents of assault, burglary and drug possession were down across the capital in January and February this year compared with the same time last year, domestic violence incidents were up 14 per cent.

In the Dublin north-central area incidents increased 34 per cent; in Dublin north 18 per cent; Dublin west 17 per cent; Dublin south central 11 per cent; Dublin east five per cent, and, in Dublin south reported incidents of domestic abuse were down two per cent.

Mirroring the increase, Tusla has seen a 62 per cent increase in child protection notifications from domestic violence refuges in the same period.

Latest figures from the child and family agency, provided to The Irish Times, show there were 159 child protection notifications (CPNs) from refuge managers in the 10 weeks between December 30th, 2019, and March 8th last year, while the figure for December 28th, 2020, to March 7th this year was 258.

Sonya Bruen, solicitor and expert in childcare law who represents Tusla in applications to remove children into care, says domestic violence is now a factor in about 50 per cent of District Court applications in Dublin.

“The other main shift is a recognition of the impact of domestic violence on children. Unfortunately, I have worked on cases where children have been physically injured as a result of domestic violence as well as suffering significant trauma and emotional abuse.”

The increase in the north inner-city was described by Green Party councillor for the area, Janet Horner, as “horrifying” and an “urgent crisis for the city . . . the north inner-city seems to be the epicentre of that crisis.

“It is a particular issues for some in the immigrant communities, particularly for women where their migrant status is attached to the partner’s, which impacts on their ability seek out help and leave their partners.”

Cllr Dermot Lacey called for a review of the impact of increased domestic violence on children “by Tusla or the gardaí”. He suspected “an increase in domestic violence against children [with] children being at home from school, children not being able to go clubs . . . during lockdown”.

Ms Cagney said children impacted by domestic violence were referred to Tusla.

“We see an increase in reporting of domestic abuse as a positive, showing the positive engagement all of the agencies have in retaining a focus on this as part of the policing response.”

Anyone needing support should contact: Women’s Aid Helpline (24 hours) 1800 341 900; Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Helpline (24 hours) 1800 778 888; Men’s Development Network Advice Line 1800 816 588; gardaí (24 hours) 999/112.