Republic of Ireland news

Majority of murders in Ireland last year had domestic abuse motivation - report

A Garda review of crime found a 399 per cent increase in domestic abuse motivations for sexual offences from 2020 to 2021
By Cate McCurry, PA

A REPORT on crime trends has revealed the majority of murders in the Republic last year had a domestic abuse motivation.

A Garda review of crime found a 399 per cent increase in domestic abuse motivations for sexual offences from 2020 to 2021.

While the figures show murders overall have fallen, the proportion of those with a domestic abuse motivation represented more than half of killings for the first time in 2021.

Last year also saw the highest number of recorded incidents of sexual offences in almost a decade.

Between 2019 and 2021, 80 per cent of victims of sexual offences were women and 69 per cent were women aged 34 or younger.

The figures were published by gardai following an analysis of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence crimes.

Sexual offences with a domestic abuse motive increased substantially between 2020 and 2021, accounting for 26 per cent of all sexual offences last year.

For men and women, most sexual offences happen in residential locations and data shows domestic abuse is primarily gender-based and has shown increases over the last nine years.

While the increased incidents of domestic abuse can be partly attributed to Covid-19 and related restrictions, the rate of recorded abuse has continued to rise post-lockdown.

In the first quarter of 2022, domestic abuse calls and incidents were 13 per cent higher than the same period in 2021.

The data also shows for female victims, there is a close link between domestic abuse and sexual and other types of violence.

A domestic abuse motive was recorded for 90 per cent of women who were victims of murder, manslaughter, infanticide and 43 per cent of women who were victims of attempted murder, threats to murder, assaults, harassments and related offences between 2019 and 2021.

Male victims, while also experiencing domestic abuse, are more likely to be subject to violence by offenders unknown to them or incidents not relating to domestic abuse.

Between 2013 and 2021, last year was the first and only year there were more murder, manslaughter, infanticide incidents relating to domestic abuse than for any other motive.

Gardai said there have been "significant efforts" to develop training, policy and awareness in the force of the nuances of domestic abuse, but there is still an element of under-reporting.

The report also shows children experience violent and threatening crimes in a sizeable proportion.

Between 2019 and 2021, 11 per cent of homicide victims, 60 per cent of sexual offences victims and 14 per cent of all attempts to murder, threats to murder, assaults and harassment victims, were children.

Republic of Ireland news