Major review will assess how Garda tackles domestic violence
Review will test Garda’s ‘effectiveness’ in preventing abuse and protecting victims
Fri, Nov 5, 2021, 01:00
The Garda’s effectiveness in tackling and preventing domestic violence is set for a significant review by the Garda Inspectorate.
The Garda watchdog agency has initiated the inspection of its own volition. The inspection, announced on Thursday, will involve interviews with domestic violence victims, the agencies that assist victims, and frontline and senior gardaí charged with investigating the crimes.
It comes at a time of growing focus on domestic violence and the ongoing controversy around the cancellation by Garda personnel of 999 calls from members of the public, including domestic violence victims.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris last month revealed a team of investigators was being assembled within the force to review criminal investigations into Garda members accused of domestic violence or sexual crimes. Mr Harris said he wanted to be sure Garda members facing allegations were being investigated thoroughly, with files sent to the DPP.
The inspection set to be carried out by the Garda Inspectorate will effectively test the Garda’s resources and approach to domestic violence. It will result in a final report being published, with recommendations.
“This inspection will consider how the Garda Síochána prevents domestic abuse from occurring, protects victims, and responds to and investigates domestic abuse incidents,” said Mark Toland, chief inspector of the Garda Inspectorate. “It will also review how the Garda Síochána works in partnership with others to do so.”
It will examine the Garda’s approach to tackling domestic abuse “at both strategic and operational levels” while comparing the Irish approach to international best practice.
It will examine how the Garda “prevents domestic abuse from occurring” and “protects victims of domestic abuse”.
A significant part of the inspection will examine how the Garda “responds to and investigates reports of domestic abuse” and how it works with other agencies to prevent abuse, protect victims and prosecute offenders.
The Garda Inspectorate’s previous inspections have uncovered major shortcomings in the way the force investigated crime.
Other inspections concluded significant changes were required in the way the Garda responded to child abuse, how public order policing was conducted and also how the threat of internal Garda corruption was being addressed.