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Question

651. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice the number of cases of domestic and sexual abuse reported to the Clare Garda division from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021; the figures for the corresponding period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24346/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Tackling domestic and sexual abuse and providing supports for victims is a priority for me as Minister and for Government. We have been continuously working with our colleagues and with our partners to ensure we have robust legislation, policies and infrastructure that can support and assist victims and hold perpetrators to account.
The Justice Plan 2021 outlines our commitment under Goal 3 to ‘Strengthen community safety, reduce reoffending, support victims and combat domestic sexual and gender based violence’.
In this regard my Department is leading on the delivery of a number of important commitments to make sure that we are responding effectively to the needs of victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, including
- fully implementing the actions contained in Supporting a Victim's Journey - A plan to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases to protect and support vulnerable witnesses during the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences;
- reviewing the outstanding actions under the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence to inform the development of the Third National Strategy which is to be adopted before the end of 2021;
conducting an independent audit of how domestic, sexual and gender based violence services are organised to ensure a comprehensive approach is taken to providing for the needs of victims of domestic abuse;
- continuing our national campaign to raise public awareness of sexual harassment, domestic and sexual violence in order to bring about a change in long-established societal behaviours and attitudes and to activate bystanders with a view to decreasing and preventing this type of behaviour and violence.
Funding of approximately €4.1 million to support victims of crime and approximately €3 million for raising awareness of domestic, sexual and gender based violence has been secured under budget 2021. These figures reflect the additional €2.3 million provided for the implementation of Supporting a Victim's Journey.
In addition to this, the Covid specific funding which is available to help organisations cope with the challenges in delivering their services to victims of crime, including victims of domestic, sexual based violence, has been increased to €400,000 for 2021.
With regard to the specific information requested by the Deputy, the table below shows the number of domestic abuse incidents reported in the Clare division during the specified timeframe.

Incident Category Apr-2019 - Mar-2020 Apr-2020 - Mar-2021
Domestic Abuse Crime and Non-Crime Incidents 638 670
The Garda authorities have informed me that these figures include crime and non-crime incidents. Crime incidents include any incident with a recorded motive of ‘Domestic Abuse’. Non-crime incidents are of the PULSE incident type ‘Domestic Dispute - No Offence Disclosed’.
The table below shows the number of sexual offences reported in the Clare Division during the time period specified. The Garda authorities have informed me that ‘Sexual Offences’ is a grouping of all PULSE incident types contained within the ICCS (Irish Crime Classification System) Group: ‘02 - Sexual Offences’.
Incident Category Apr-2019 - Mar-2020 Apr-2020 - Mar-2021
Sexual Offences 52 58

I am also informed by the Commissioner that Operation Faoiseamh, established to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are supported and protected during the pandemic and to ensure that any domestic abuse incidents receive the highest priority response, continues to operate in a targeted and proactive way.
An Garda Síochána are continuing to develop their specialist services in this area and I am pleased that Divisional Protective Services Units have been rolled out nationwide. This ensures that vulnerable victims of crime, such as domestic abuse and sexual violence, presenting to Gardaí are met with a consistently high standard of specialist, sensitive, professional and expert assistance, which subsequently helps in getting cases and perpetrators before the courts.