GARDAÍ RESPONDED to over 27,000 domestic violence incidents during the coronavirus pandemic, a domestic abuse charity has revealed.
The lockdown which was introduced to slow the spread of Covid-19 'exacerbated' the risk for people living with domestic abuse as they were forced into constant close-quarters with their abuser.
There were a 43% increase in calls to the Women's Aid helpline, a 71% increase to the Women's Aid website and a 25% increase in calls to the Gardaí.
However, there was a 23% drop in court applications relating to domestic violence, and a 25% decrease in capacity for emergency accommodation for women fleeing an unsafe situation.
The concerning figures were revealed at an online seminar hosted by Women's Aid, an annual event marking the publication of the previous year's report.
This year, the event included a supplementary report titled When Home Is Not Safe, which investigated the impact of the pandemic on women and children in unsafe situations.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, speaking at the seminar, said there had been over 27,000 call-outs to domestic violence incidents since the end of March, The Irish Times reports.
“There were some 27,174 incidents falling into the category of domestic abuse," Commissioner Harris said.
"A huge number. And it’s a really significant policing issue for us.
“We are very mindful that these are very vulnerable victims and we have a huge responsibility in terms of our response to them.”
In May, Women's Aid CEO Sarah Benson said the coronavirus crisis causing people to remain in their homes had "focused minds on homes that are not safe at all".
“We have spoken to women who have been attacked with weapons and fists, who are being verbally abused, controlled and monitored at all times. Women with underlying health issues have reported that their partners are not adhering to Covid-19 restrictions deliberately," and some abusive partners were coughing on vulnerable women.
Services for victims of domestic abuse are still available during the coronavirus pandemic, and if you or someone you know are in need of help, you can reach out to the following organisations.
Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 1800 778 888
Men’s Aid: 01 554 3811