Sat, 03 Dec 2022

Number of sexual assaults in Ireland on the increase

Conor Trindle
25 Sep 2022, 03:31 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Whilst the number of murders in Ireland is on the decrease, the number motivated by domestic abuse has increased to just over half the number of murders committed.

The findings have come from a detailed analysis of all recorded domestic, sexual, and gender-based incidents of violence.

The report was published by An Garda Siochana on Friday.

Among the key findings:

- Murders overall have fallen over time, but the proportion of those with a domestic abuse motivation represented the majority of murders (52%) for the first time in 2021

- Domestic Abuse (DA) primarily affects females (77% of injured parties) and is the key driver of (female) gender-based violence. This includes sexual offences where DA motivations increased by 399% from 2020 to 2021. However, these increases and others highlighted in the report are likely to be reflective of increased reporting and improved recording practices, not necessarily (or certainly only) as a result of increasing rates of domestic abuse

The number of sexual assault incidents has increased over time, with females comprising the majority of victims (80%). Both male and female victims were mainly aged under 18 years old at the time (81% of all male victims and 55% of all female victims). High proportions of sexual offences occur in residential locations for both male and female injured parties (52% and 62%, respectively).

Attempts/Threats to Murder, Assaults, Harassments, and Related Offences the number of incidents has increased over time; 57% of victims are males, and 43% are females. Victims are more likely to be older adults for, both females and males. When males are the injured party, the incident is more likely to have occurred in a non-residential location (71%); incidents with female injured parties are more likely to have occurred in a residential location (59%)

Taking all of the major crime groups above together:

- The offender is male in the majority of incidents with a female victim (74%). When the victim is male, the offender is also male for the majority (88%)

- For the sub-set of incidents where the Victim Offender Relationship is available, female victims are more likely than males to know the offender (84% of female victims compared to 61% of male victims)

"An Garda Siochana is unwavering in our commitment to supporting victims of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence and investigating and prosecuting offenders," Detective Chief Superintendent, Garda National Protective Services Bureau, Colm Noonan, said Friday.

"In recent years, this has seen An Garda Siochana introduce a number of measures including Operation Faoiseamh, Divisional Protective Service Units, a strong focus on call-backs to victims of domestic abuse, and increased training for Garda in this area.

"As a society, there has been a hugely positive sea change in how we view, understand, and tolerate domestic abuse in our homes and in our communities, and how absolutely unacceptable it now is," Noonan said.

"For our part, we are focused on a number of operational areas that we believe will enhance how individual Garda respond to victims and incidents of domestic abuse to ensure that no matter where a person lives, the service and protection they receive from An Garda Siochana will be of a consistently high standard.

"This report and the detailed analysis and trends it provides, particularly around the increased and enhanced recording of the Victim Offender Relationship and Domestic Abuse motives, will inform us, at an operational level, on how we can build on the successful achievements of Operation Faoiseamh," the detective chief superintendent said.

"I urge anyone who has in the past or may be currently suffering Domestic, Sexual or Gender-Based Violence to contact any Garda station or in an emergency to call 999/112. I can assure victims that they will be supported and every incident will be investigated."

"By fully exposing these crimes, as well as constantly improving our policing response and wider policies, we can help the prevalence of domestic abuse in our society," Noonan added.


The report examined PULSE data related to the abusive and violent incidents reported to An Garda Siochana during the period 2019-2021 in order to determine emerging trends in the area of Domestic, Sexual, and Gender-Based Violence.

The longer-term trends since 2013 were also examined and are included in the report to provide further context.

The report can be accessed here.

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