DOMESTIC ABUSE reports have surged over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, according to alarming new figures.
Data compiled for the year so far has revealed there has been a total of 7,258 reports of domestic abuse across Ireland.
That represents a major increase on the figures reported in 2016, when there were 4,755 incidents.
In the majority of cases, the victim were male with men making up just 151 of the reported domestic abuse cases.
The numbers for the Dublin Metropolitan Western Region made for particularly troubling reading with a total of 784 incidents recorded so far this year in rise from the 674 seen last year.
According to the figures based on PULSE data, there was also a significant increase in the number of reports of rape and aggravated sexual assault with cases up from 671 in 2016 to 720 in 2020 so far.
The numbers were released to Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on mental health Mark Ward who described the increases as “disturbing” and called for more to be done to support domestic abuse victims.
“Sadly, it shows that this crime continues to be all too common and is at epidemic levels,” Ward said.
“Those working in the sector have warned that during lockdown restrictions many people experiencing domestic abuse will have been subjected to further violence while trapped at home with an abuser.
“Safe Ireland has warned that on average, seven women and children per day were turned away from refuges during the pandemic due to lack of space.
“This is totally unacceptable. Leaving an abusive relationship is an extremely difficult and challenging thing to do and all victims deserve to get the support they need," Ward added.
The data comes just a month after a similar report revealed that the first six months of the pandemic saw the highest number of domestic abuse reports ever recorded.
Somewhere in the region of 1,970 women and 411 children have received some form of support each month following a domestic violence incident.
Almost 3,500 women also made their first-ever calls to a domestic violence service between March and August of this year.
Safe Ireland has reported that nearly 600 children have contacted them requesting support and help following an incident of abuse and trauma.