Last Friday at the Fingal Joint Policing Committee (JPC), we had a significant discussion about the incidents of domestic violence being reported across Fingal. Each of the superintendents for the four districts (Blanchardstown, Swords/Malahide, Howth, Balbriggan) set out the number of offences in 2016 to date, the 2015 comparison, and any specific measures they had introduced to deal with the area.
The availability of these statistics were on foot of a request that I had made earlier in the year that each district would report on their domestic violence figures along with other crime statistics that they present at the quarterly JPC meetings.
The discussion on domestic violence wasn’t specifically on the meeting’s agenda. It flowed naturally from the fact that each superintendent had made comments about the domestic violence stats in their area. This was exactly the outcome I was hoping for when I made the request for the stats to be provided – that we would give a greater public profile to the issue of domestic violence. It is widely understood that this is a significantly under-reported crime. So when victims are brave enough to go to the Gardai, it is important that those of us who are public reps take account of that fact.
In the discussion, we learnt that some districts are now using a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer, who calls back anyone who reported an incident to check up on the situation. A phone service for high risk victims is also being implemented.
The JPC is made up of the Gardai, local councillors and TDs and a number of community representatives. Hopefully, this group can spread the message of the importance of tackling domestic violence across Fingal.