A new group is exploring the possibility of providing a residential refuge facilities for victims of domestic violence. The news comes as crime figures reveal that domestic violence is on the rise across County Cavan.
The number of domestic violence incidents reported to gardaí rose by half in the final quarter of 2018. Chief Superintendent John O’Reilly outlining the figures at a recent Joint Policing Committee meeting said that there were 88 incidents in the Cavan and Bailieborough District in the last three months of 2018, compared to 57 for the same period the previous year. However, there were only 17 cases where gardaí were obliged to make an arrest; compared to 12 in the final quarter of 2017.
The chief of police in the Cavan Monaghan District said that in cases where children are present, the Gardaí liaise with Tusla. In response to Deputy Brendan Smith (FF), Chief Supt O'Reilly said the provision of a domestic refuge facility was not a matter for the gardaí but he pointed to facilities in Navan, Dundalk and Castleblayney that Cavan families can access.
Meanwhile, the Cavan Against Domestic Violence (CADV) group is looking at the viability of providing such a refuge for the Breffni county.
Grainne Boyle, JPC administrator, under the Community and Enterprise section of Cavan County Council revealed that this multi-agency group is being supported by Breffni Integrated Ltd under the Social Inclusion Programme.
Speaking to the Celt this week, Terry Hyland, the CEO of Breffni Integrated, explained more about the project: “The committee spearheaded by Lorraine McTeigue from Breffni Integrated are visiting refuges at present around Ireland to see at first hand how they operate with a view to formulating a development plan for one in Cavan and putting funding in place. We will be assisting the committe to put the funding in place.”
Mr Hyland said that the committee will be making submissions to the Tusla Domestic and Gender Based Violence Unit to progress this refuge project for Cavan.
Senator Joe O’Reilly (FG) also emphasised the need for such a facility in the county town at the JPC meeting.
His party colleague Paddy Smith told the JPC how, over the years, he had brought victims of domestic violence to refuge centres. He remarked that, on at least three different occasions, he was shocked to see that the victims had returned home the following day.
“I can’t get my head around bringing a person two or three times to a refuge centre, and they land home the next day. Are there any statistics in existence in relation to this, including people returning home? Is it something that anybody has an influence in – or an interest in?” he asked.
Responding Chief Supt O'Reilly said: “Human nature as it is – people make decisions in their lives. It is a matter for them – we support and advise."