Monday 26 September 2016

'I would describe my life as hell' - Victims speak as new stats reveal 83pc of assaults carried out by men

Cathal McMahon

Published 12/09/2016 | 09:57

Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office
Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office

Gardaí have pleaded with young men to think about the consequences of their actions after shocking new statistics revealed 83 per cent of offenders in assault cases are male.

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According to the Garda Analysis Service, the vast majority of assaults are carried out by males aged between 18 and 39 against males of a similar age.

The analysis reveals that the assaults typically take place in and around public places (street, roads, pubs and hotels) between 8pm and 5am at the weekend.

And approximately 25pc of incidents linked to the night time economy involved intoxication of either the suspect offender, the victim, or both.

Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office
Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office

Seven out of every ten assaults involve a male attacking a male while 75% of victims are men.

Describing his experience following a serious assault, one victim (26) said: "Before the assault I was a happy go lucky guy, but since then I would describe my life as hell.

"Along with the terrible injuries that kept me in hospital for a long time, I have suffered from depression and paranoia and I still feel angry a lot of the time.”

Another man (29), who was not identified, said: "Since the incident I think about the vulnerability of myself, my girlfriend and my family when out socialising or going about daily life. In the weeks that followed the incident I experienced disturbed sleep and anxiety.”

It has emerged that there is a low recidivism rate and there is a very low level of repeat victimisation in these types of attacks.

The garda figures reveal that the recovery of the economy has led to a busier nightlife in pubs and bars with the knock-on increase in the level of assaults.

Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office
Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office

In Dublin the number of assaults causing harm rose from 1,396 in 2012 to 1,707 in 2015, while minor assaults increased from 3,100 to 3,337 in the same period.

Despite this in 2016, assaults nationally have shown a decline with minor assaults down 2pc and assaults causing harm down 4pc.

Gardaí have implemented a multi-strand anti-crime strategy to further reduce assaults and enhance community safe.

A series of 'assault hotspots have been identified and since early August there has been high visibility policing in the areas at key times.

Gardaí say they are working with pubs, businesses and local councils to address issues while also creating an education campaign which went live from Monday is working in partnerships with licensed premises, the business community and local councils to address issues around anti-social behaviour.

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney, Garda Bureau of Community Engagement, advised people to be streetwise when they are out and about.

"The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable,” he said.

"They are usually carried out by males against males aged between 18 and 39, during evenings and early mornings. Don’t be that guy; use your brain not your fists.

"Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people. Walk away and look for help.

Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office
Use Your Brain Not Your Fists campaign. Picture: Garda Press Office

"Be streetwise when you’re out and about. Planning is key to having a good night out. Arrange transport to and from events in advance. Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Avoid walking alone and in dark places. Be wary of your surroundings and mind your property.”

Sergeant Courtney urged assault victims to report the crime, which, according to the CSO may be under-reported by approximately 40%.

"Some victims of assaults, particularly men, are embarrassed to say they have been assaulted. I would encourage anybody, and in particular younger men, to report all assaults to An Garda Síochána. Anyone who has been assaulted will be treated with sensitivity by An Garda Síochána and it will be fully investigated.”

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