Teach Oscail and Tusla Cavan with local gardaí (from left): Darina Lynch, Teach Oscail); Garda Christine Gallagher; Tara Lynagh, Teach Oscail; Garda Cathal Buggy; Garda Seamus Herron; Antoniette Brady, Tusla Cavan); with Odette Francis and Jessica Elliott, Teach Oscail.

New unit goes purple to highlight domestic violence

Members of Cavan Gardaí teamed up with three prominent local support groups in an effort to highlight one of the most pressing social issues.

“Last Friday (April 23) was designated Go Purple Day, a national day of fundraising and awareness for local domestic violence services,” Garda Cathal Buggy of the newly established Community Engagement Unit told the Celt.

The dedicated day was initiated by members of An Garda Síochána in County Meath some years ago. It has now grown into a wider national day of awareness in partnership with Safe Ireland, the national agency working to create safety for women and children, and Men’s Aid.

People, businesses and schools were encouraged to wear purple, bake purple, grow purple, paint purple, whatever they like to show their support and fundraise for their local domestic violence service.“We joined up with Teach Oscail Family Resource Centre, Tusla Cavan and Sleep Out Cavan to support Go Purple Day in aid of domestic violence awareness,” Gda Buggy told.

“In Cavan Garda Station we wore purple ribbons. Having all the support services come together is a show of unity on what is a very important issue.”

The newly established Community Engagement Unit has been busy since it came into being a little over a week ago. The unit liaises with schools and community organisations on outreach projects, such as the Road Safety workshops, to foster links between An Garda Síochána and the public.

Gda Buggy says the new unit is a reflection of changes in the organisation: “It's the way policing is going. We are taking a proactive approach to working with the public, rather than encountering them in situations of conflict. Our support for Go Purple Day complements that idea,” he concluded.

Last month, calls for a designated refuge for victims of domestic violence in Counties Cavan and Monaghan were repeated at the quarterly meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC). Addressing the meeting, Siobhán McKenna of Tearmann Domestic Violence Services, explained that Tusla is currently undertaking a national audit on emergency refuge accommodation.

“So nothing will progress until that audit is complete,” she asserted.

“The national development plan for domestic violence services is happening at the same time, and the audit will feed into that.”Siobhán explained that learnings from Covid could inform the plan, and future crisis accommodation.

The DV specilaist informed the meeting that nationally, in the three months from September to December 2020, a total of 2,018 women and 550 children had sought some form of domestic violence service.

Tearmann is currently undergoing a merger with Safe Ireland and is recruiting new DV specialists who will be community based across both Cavan and Monaghan.

The meeting also heard from Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken who reported “a slight decrease over the last 12 months” in domestic violence related matters in the district.

“However in certain sub categories we’ve seen an increase in breaches of court orders, in assaults related to domestic incidents and also there are three cases of coercive control, which is new legislation, under investigation,” he said.

The chief super noted there were 62 reported assaults so far this year in County Cavan. “Of that, 20 related to domestic violence incidents,” he confirmed.

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