The increase in the number of sexual offences reported to gardai in the Dundalk District has been described as “concerning”.
Figures presented at the Dundalk Joint Policing Committee meeting showed that 48 sexual offences have been reported up until March 6 this year. This compares to 32 during the same period last year and 23 in 2021.
Cllr Maeve Yore said she was "hugely concerned” at the increase in sexual offences.
Cllr Emma Coffey asked if it was possible to get figures for the number of prosecutions taken in relation to domestic violence and the breaching of barring orders.
She said that through her work as a practitioner in the courts, she was aware that there had been a significant rise in these. However, a lot of people are reluctant to report breaches of barring orders for fear of non-success and the public nature of it.
She felt it would be beneficial if the figures for prosecutions were made available.
There are “many, many assaults taking place in domestic situations”, she continued and she felt that statistics relating to prosecutions would give confidence to people, mainly women but also men, to come forward.
Inspector John Boyle said that people who bring applications relating to barring orders can be sure of confidentiality.
He said that there was “a high rate of success” for those people who are brave enough to do so.
There were procedures in place to make sure that their experience of going to court would be as easy as possible and they could be assured of confidentiality.
He added that there is always a follow-up to reports of domestic violence and that is often when gardai learn as much as during the initial report.
Chief Supt Alan McGovern said that the number of gardai in the Divisional Sexual Offences unit had increased and there had been a number of of successful prosecutions. Many of these were historical.
The gardai deal with all reports in a professional way and have a team who are experts in that area. They are encouraging people to come forward with complaints.